Hartlepool golf star Graeme Storm thrilled with prospect of playing in the US Open

USA TRIP: Graeme Storm
USA TRIP: Graeme Storm
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GRAEME Storm hopes winning a place at the US Open will turn around his season.

The Hartlepool golfer produced a brilliant performance in wretched conditions at Walton Heath yesterday to finish in a tie for fifth in the qualifying event for next month’s second Major of the programme.

Storm will join the world’s golfing elite at Pinehurst on June 12-15 when he will be hoping to make the cut and earn himself some cash and ranking points.

In golf, ranking points are based on prizemoney won and, for Storm, it has been a miserable year.

The 36-year-old, who will be playing in his second US Open, has collected only £27,500 so far following play on three continents in 2014.

He is down in 165th place on the European Tour’s league table, known as the Race to Dubai, and he needs better performances and bigger cheques to keep his place in the competition for 2015.

“I don’t usually enter the US Open,” Storm told SportMail.

“This is is the third time I’ve tried to qualify and the second time I’ve made it, so that’s pleasing.

“I wanted to give myself another tournament to play in and a chance to earn myself some money.

“It’s not been a great year for me, but there is a big prizemoney at the US Open.

“I will need to make the cut to earn some but my aim is to move up the rankings and retain my Tour card for next year and I’ve given myself a chance.”

He certainly has.

Storm was one of 105 hopefuls at Walton Heath yesterday for a 36-hole shoot-out for only 14 spots on offer for a trip to North Carolina.

And the former French Open champ upstaged the biggest name in the field, Padraig Harrington.

The three-time Major champion was facing the rare occurance of having to qualify – and Storm ended up being paired with the Irishman.

In the morning round on the Surrey venue’s New course, Storm played superbly to card a four under-par 68 – while Harrington struggled to a 75.

The round, containing five birdies and one bogey, put the Poolie in joint sixth alongside Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer with the harder Old course to follow on the afternoon with the conditions making low scoring difficult.

Storm showed skill and heart in the rain to register a 71 and end the day on 139 (five under par) in a share of fifth spot.