Hartlepool golfer Graeme Storm at Alfred Dunhill Championship after European Tour reprieve

Graeme Storm will take an 'each tournament as it comes' approach to the 2017 season.

Wednesday, 30th November 2016, 9:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:52 am
Graeme Storm: In South Africa

The European Tour programme gets under way tomorrow in South Africa and Storm will be on the tee for the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

It is just three weeks since the Hartlepool golfer was given a reprieve in the sport’s elite division.

Storm had finished 112th on the order of merit with only the leading 111 guaranteeing themselves their Tour card.

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But when world number eight Patrick Reed did not meet the competition’s appearance quota, he lost his place, bumping the Poolie up to number 111.

Now Storm hopes to take full advantage of a welcome stroke of luck by finding his best form again – by not putting too much pressure on himself.

The 38-year-old plans to enjoy his golf and hopes results will follow.

“I’m playing twice on Tour before Christmas,” Storm told SportMail ahead of the start of the event at Leopard Creek.

“I’m here for the Alfred Dunhill and then I’m in Hong Kong next week.

“I’d love to get off to a quick start this season – I don’t want what I went through this year to happen again.

“I want to play well and then press on.

“But there are going to be no more targets, no goals.

“I’ve done that before and it’s done me no favours to be honest.

“I always used to say stuff like ‘if I do this and do that then I’ll get my card by such and such date’.

“But I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, so then I’d be worrying, missing cuts and just not playing as I know I can.

“I want to enjoy my golf, so from now I’ll be taking each tournament as it comes.”

Storm is one of Hartlepool’s premier sports stars, who has enjoyed an unbroken 16-year run on the European Tour.

He has played in all four of the sport’s majors and has one Tour victory under his belt, the 2007 French Open though he came agonisingly close to being the European Masters champion in 2014, losing in a sudden-death play-off.

Ex-Masters champion Charl Schwartzel is the favourite as he bids to become only the fourth player to win the same European Tour title on five or more occasions.

Branden Grace, South Africa’s highest ranked player on the world listings, is also expected to challenge at the Gary Player-designed course.