Delight for Graeme Storm, dismay for Graeme McDowell

Graeme Storm
Graeme Storm
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GRAEME Storm refused to be blown off course at the Saab Wales Open on a day when it all went horribly wrong for Graeme McDowell.

Storm moved up four places from joint 15th to equal 11th after day three of the PGA European Tour event at Celtic Manor Resort.

The 33-year-old had a mixed bag of four birdies and four bogeys in his level par 71 at Newport.

It put him on 211, alongside Oscar Floren, Christian Cévaër, Romain Wattel, Pablo Larrazábal, Richard McEvoy and Ricardo Gonzalez.

Less than two weeks away from his defence of the US Open title Graeme McDowell suffered the potentially devastating shock of an 81 – the joint worst round of his entire European Tour career.

On the course where he was not only Europe’s Ryder Cup hero last October, but also Wales Open champion five months earlier, the world number five crashed from one off the lead to an incredible 11 strokes adrift.

Swede Alex Noren still leads after a rollercoaster ride of a 71 in the windy conditions – compatriot Peter Hanson and Dane Anders Hansen are one behind, Hansen after a superlative 66 – but the story of the day was inevitably McDowell’s tumble from second place overnight to 33rd.

And this less than a month since he collapsed from first to 33rd with a closing 79 at the Players Championship in Florida.

It could have been even more of a meltdown, though. He thought he might get a two-shot penalty for tapping down the ground as a chip came back to him on the 12th, but he escaped that because it was down in anger rather than with the intention to improve his lie.