Hartlepool golfer Graeme Storm looks to carry US Open form into Nordea Masters in Malmö


GRAEME Storm hopes to carry his brilliant form at the US Open qualifier into his next European Tour event.

The Hartlepool golfer finished joint fifth in the top quality field at Walton Heath on Monday to book a place at Pinehurst in North Carolina between June 12-15.

But before he starts thinking of doing battle in the second Major of 2014, the 36-year-old has arrived in Sweden for tomorrow’s Nordea Masters.

Storm is desperate for ranking points after a poor start to the year has seen him at 165th in the Race to Dubai, European golf’s order of merit.

But he hopes his improved form at last weekend’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and his rounds of 68 and 71 along the road in Surrey at Walton Heath can inspire a good display in Malmö.

Storm is looking to get his putting going again after being happy with the rest of his play.

Like a darts player hitting the doubles or a footballer finding the back of the net, it is the touch with the putter which can make such a difference to a golfer.

“I’m really pleased with the way I’m hitting the ball from tee to green,” Storm told SportMail.

“At the BMW I think I was top six or seven for reaching greens in regulation and top 10 for hitting fairways from the tee.

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“Obviously, it is the greens where the problems are – I’m not holing anything.”

Storm must have holed some putts to qualify for the US Open – he had half a dozen birdies at Walton Heath.

“I hit a lot of good shots on Monday,” admitted the 2007 French Open champion.

“I did hole a couple and I drove great, especially given how cold and wet the conditions were.”

Storm has had some isolated good days on the European Tour, notably a 66 at the Maybank Malaysian Open at Kuala Lumpur where he sank six birdies, including four in the space of five holes.

The Hartlepool Golf Club member is feeling happier – he has made the cut at his last two events, the Open de España and BMW PGA Championship.

Poor last rounds have meant he has finished both down the field on eight over par in 63rd and 70th.

But the smile is returning, partly helped by the arrival of a new caddie, Sam Haywood.

“It’s been a really difficult year,” said Storm.

“I’ve had a change of caddie and Sam is now on my bag. He’s been great and he’s kind of brought a bit of life to me.

“I’ve made two cuts on the spin, qualified for the US Open.

“I’m looking forward, not back.”

Storm and Haywood will be out on course early tomorrow at the PGA National course, teeing off at 9.10am.

He has been paired with Scotland’s Marc Warren and Marco Crespi, from Italy.

Sweden-based Dane Thomas Björn will start as favourite in Malmö, despite losing a five-shot overnight lead on Sunday at Wentworth.

He is the the leading money-winner on the Tour.