BMW SA Open Rory Mcilroy v Graeme Storm on last day of European Tour event

Graeme Storm faces a last-round shoot-out with Rory McIlroy at the BMW SA Open.

Saturday, 14th January 2017, 9:12 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th January 2017, 9:21 pm
Graeme Storm leads the BMW SA Open by three shots

The Hartlepool star is paired with the world number two in the final group at Glendower Golf Club in South Africa.

Storm and McIlroy both shot five-under-par 67s in round three which means the Poolie will hold a three-stroke advantage going into Sunday over the man he labelled as the tournament favourite.

McIlroy shook off a back problem to fire a 67 but that was not enough to close the gap on Storm, who matched his score to get to 17 under for the European Tour event.

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A win for Storm would be a fairytale story for the 38-year-old who lost his European Tour card by only 100 euros just 83 days ago, only to be handed a reprieve when USA's Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed failed to play enough events.

But it's no guarantee the winner will come from that last pairing.

England's Jordan L Smith has won the EuroPro Golf Tour and the Challenge Tour in the last two seasons and is enjoying his debut campaign on the European Tour, sitting at 13 under alongside South African Jbe Kruger.

McIlroy twice caught Storm on Saturday, firstly when birdies on the second and eighth sandwiched a stunning eagle from 157 yards on the par-four seventh and again when he made a hat-trick of gains from the 11th.

A bogey on the last stalled McIlroy's progress but Storm was a picture of consistency, making birdies on the four par-fives and the seventh as he extended his bogey-free run to 41 holes.

"I am just really pleased that I kept the momentum from yesterday and played really nicely and holed some good putts," Storm told the European Tour's Official website.

"I find myself now in a position that I have only been in a couple of times over the past few years.

"Things have been difficult and last year was a tough year but it has given me a new lease of life and I hope to continue playing well.

"I thought I had lost my card and all of the privileges that come from playing on the European Tour and when that happens you realise that you can't afford to lose it."

It will be a test of nerve as well as skill for Storm, but he's clearly playing very, very well here.

The trick for the 2007 French Open champ will be to try to play the course and not his opponent.

McIlroy says he will be looking to put on early pressure.

"I'd like to be a few shots better or at least a few shots closer to the lead," he explained.

"Hopefully I can get off to a good start tomorrow and put a bit of pressure on Graeme and it will be interesting."