Hartlepool golfer Graeme Storm leads BMW SA Open after equalling course record

Graeme Storm leads the BMW SA Open in South Africa
Graeme Storm leads the BMW SA Open in South Africa

Graeme Storm fired a brilliant 63 to take a two-shot lead and keep world number two Rory McIlroy at bay on day two of the BMW SA Open

The Englishman thought he had lost his playing privileges on the European Tour by an agonising 100 euros following the Portugal Masters in October but was handed a reprieve as United States Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed failed to play the required number of events.

The putter was hot, it was hot yesterday and it was hot today

GRAEME STORM

Storm took advantage in some style on Friday, carding nine birdies in a blemish-free effort which equalled the course record at Glendower GC to get to 12 under and lead the way from home duo Trevor Fisher Jnr and Jbe Kruger, and American Peter Uihlein.

McIlroy was then a further shot back after a remarkable 68 that saw him pick up eight shots in as many holes from the eighth to the 15th but also record three bogeys and a double-bogey.

Storm never looked back after a sensational start, with birdies at his first three holes as he began 3-3-3.

The figure three was a favourite score for the 38-year-old as he rattled in another birdie at the 412-yard 18th.

He repeated the trick at the 407-yard first and he was dominating the tournament with perfect golf.

After ‘only’parring the par-five second he had eagled on Thursday, Storm holed his birdie putt at the short third.

He was not finished and his magic putter picked up further strokes at the fifth, sixth and eighth and was in no doubt as to the key to his success.

“The putter was hot, it was hot yesterday and it was hot today,” he told the European Tour’s official website following the conclusion to his round. “Yesterday I didn’t capitalise as much as I did today.

“I could have birdied a couple more of the par fives, I only birdied one of them today.

“So to shoot 63 and only having birdied one of the par fives around here, you know, I’ve played pretty well.”

McIlroy’s eight-hole burst did not include a single missed putt and was all the more remarkable considering he was struggling with a back injury.

“I’m actually surprised I’m standing here, I actually thought about pulling out before even teeing off today,” he said.

“I tweaked my back somehow and the first few shots today weren’t very comfortable and it still isn’t really comfortable. I can’t really take a deep breath because I’ve done something to my upper back.

“I’m going to go get some treatment now. Considering that, I played well, stuck at it and hopefully I can feel better tomorrow.”