GRAEME Storm heads into the 140th Open Championship hoping to do Hartlepool “proud” in the world’s oldest golf Major.
Tomorrow’s appearance at Royal St George’s in Kent is Storm’s sixth crack at the tournament and his first target is to make the half-way cut.
He then hopes to kick on during the business-end of the Open and get among the main contenders on Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s every golfer’s dream simply to play in the Open and it’s the Major that everyone wants to win,” said the 33-year-old, who will tee off at 6.41am tomorrow for his opening round.
“It’s exciting just to be in it but I want to try to get myself up there and giver myself a chance.
“I’m not saying I’m going to win or anything like that but it would be nice to be involved going into the weekend.”
Storm and Ashington’s Kenny Ferrie fly the region’s flag in Kent.
“It’s great that there are two players from the North-East here,” he told SportMail.
“It’s a massive achievement just to have a Hartlepool player at the Open.
“Hopefully I can do the town proud by playing well and hopefully give myself an opportunity to be there for the whole weekend.”
Storm believes this weekend’s Open will mark the first British player to win the famous Claret Jug since unheralded Scot Paul Lawrie clinched a play-off victory in the 1999 Open at Carnoustie.
England has not had a winner since Nick Faldo lifted his sixth and final Major in 1996.
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Storm clearly would love to do a Lawrie and come from nowhere to become a Major champion, just like unknown American Ben Curtis did at this course as the the world 396 did in 2003.
But he believes Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy will be the principal contenders at Sandwich.
“Luke will be the favourite here after winning the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart on Sunday,” said the Hartlepool Golf Club member.
“But there will be other people looking to do well, like Westwood and McIlroy.
“Rory didn’t play last weekend but he comes into this having just won the US Open, so he’ll be wanting to put on a show.
“I think it will be pretty good odds that it will be a British winner here on Sunday night.
“And you can’t look much much further than Donald – he’s got himself to world number one and he’s on a winning streak.
“He’s the man to beat.”