Hartlepool golfer Graeme Storm moves up ISPS Handa Wales Open standings

TWO UNDER: Graeme StormTWO UNDER: Graeme Storm
TWO UNDER: Graeme Storm
GRAEME Storm has put himself in contention for a good payday at the ISPS Handa Welsh Open after a good second round at Celtic Manor.

The Hartlepool golfer followed up a level-par 71 on Thursday with a two-under-par 69 at the Newport course yesterday.

His midway total of 140 saw him move up 22 places to an 18-way share of 22nd position with two rounds to go.

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Storm may be someway off the pace given that Ireland’s Shane Lowry leads the European Tour event on a nine-under-par 133 after a 65 yesterday.

However, with the field quite tightly bunched up, Storm has the opportunity to play for some good prizemoney and strengthen his position on the order of merit following his second place at the Omega European Masters earlier this month.

The 36-year-old sank four birdies at the Welsh course yesterday.

Starting at the 11th, his first red number came at the 377-yard 15th though he blotted his copybook by bogeying the par four 16th for the second day running.

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But he repeated his feat of birdying the monster par five 18th to go back to one under for the day and the competition.

Once again, he followed a birdie with a bogey as he took a five at the first.

However, Storm was flawless from there until his final hole, sinking birdie threes at the fourth and sixth.

At one stage he was up to 20th on the leaderboard but an end position of 22nd was not a bad day for the Poolie.

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Alongside Storm on two under was Ryder Cup man Thomas Bjorn, who added a 69 to his opening 71 to lie two under par.

Lowry overtook overnight leader Joost Luiten, who lost top spot after only scoring 69.

Luiten was considered for a wild card after finishing 15th in the points standings, one place above Lee Westwood who edged out Luke Donald for the final pick.

He is joint second with ex-Ryder Cup player Nicolas Coelsarts, who are eight under par.

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Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee was a further shot back following a 67 alongside Edoardo Molinari with Sweden’s Patrik Sjoland on six under after also shooting 67.

There were mixed fortunes for the new Europe caps. Jamie Donaldson is on five under alongside 2002 Ryder Cup hero and compatriot, Phillip Price.

But Stephen Gallacher missed the cut on six over par, despite improving with a 70 yesterday.