GRAEME Storm is drinking in the last-chance saloon in his bid to win a place at the Open Championship.
The Hartlepool golfer played in golf’s second Major of the year – the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst last month.
But the 36-year-old is struggling to claim a spot at the British Open, which is being staged at Royal Liverpool a week on Thursday.
Storm needs to finish in the top three at this weekend’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open – the final European Tour event before next week’s big one.
It may not require a top-three spot at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club if the leading finishers have already booked their places at the Open.
But it will certainly need a big effort from Storm, who missed the cut at the Open de France at the weekend – a tournament hwe had won back in 2007.
Storm finished at 10 over in Paris after rounds of 75 and 77 and was off the pace in the final qualifying tournaments.
He needed to be in the top three at Hillside in Lancashire – one of four courses around the UK staging qualifiers.
Storm shot rounds of 74 and 73 in Southport to finish in a share of 19th place on three over par.
Fellow Hartlepool golfer Alex Wrigley had been in contention at the top end of the leaderboard after the first round.
Wrigley was in joint sixth after a first-round 70 only for his hopes to be ruined by an afternoon 79 to be in a tie for 27th on five over.
Two of the stars from the Brabazon Trophy at Seaton Carew were also in action at Hillside.
Champion Ben Stow finished on two over in 17th while the man he pipped for the title on the Seaton links, Ryan Evans, was equal ninth on two under.
Storm will need a big improvement this week.
The Hartlepool Golf Club member has mixed memories of the Scottish Open.
He was 12th at the 2010 event – the last held at Loch Lomond – but has missed every cut at Castle Stuart, the Inverness course which has staged the last three. He will doubtless welcome this week’s change in venue.