Graeme Storm must go back to school if he is to maintain his proud record on golf’s European Tour.
The Hartlepool star needed a high finish at the Portugal Masters at the weekend to clinch a place in the leading 111 of the Race to Dubai or the Order of Merit, to give it its old title.
Gutted for my mate @stormygraeme but he’ll be back on the @EuropeanTour very soonJUSTIN ROSE
But the 38-year-old suffered the agony of ending the season in 112th after a bogey at the last hole at Vilamoura saw him finish the tournament in a share of 22nd, which was not enough to move him up into the top echelon.
In golf, points are measured in prize money and he ended the season on 247,447 euros, 90 euros behind David Howell in 111th, which works out at just £80.
While facing relegation to the European Challenge Tour – the second tier of the sport – all hope is not lost.
The European Tour stages a Qualifying School for those chasing promotion to the main competition and those fighting to keep their cards.
Storm will line up in the Q School’s Final Stage at the PGA Catalunya Resort from November 12-17.
It won’t be easy, given it is often a fierce do-or-die competition, but should the 2007 French Open champion finish in the top 25 in Spain, he will play on the 2017 European Tour.
After 12 consecutive years on the Tour, Storm took the blow on the chin, tweeting ‘Thanks to everyone for kind messages. I will be back, better and stronger for this. Very emotional right now and looking forward to time off’.
The Dyke House College golf coach and mentor added that he would be home for his son’s birthday and his Tour set-back would not ruin the day.
‘With my family and especially to my little boy whose birthday it is tomorrow. Today won’t spoil that. Never. Family is everything,’ he wrote on his account @stormygraeme.
Friend and Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose tweeted his best wishes: ‘Gutted for my mate @stormygraeme but he’ll be back on the @EuropeanTour very soon’.
The final hole at the Victoria Clube de Golfe course on the Algarve proved a heartbreaking end.
Until the 18th, Storm had played a flawless round in Vilamoura.After fine rounds of 68, 66 and 68, he started the final round tied for 24th.
Things began to look even better when he eagled the 579-yard par five fifth and then birdied the 12th and 15th to go to four under for his round and 15 under for the event.
Storm then improved his outlook with a birdie four at the 589-yard 17th.
But disaster struck at the 463-yard 18th, putting his drive into a bunker. He recovered onto the fairway but it was short of the green and his putt for his par was just off target.
He signed for a good 67 but his tie for 22nd brought him £20,800 – had he parred the last he would have been in a share of 17th which would have won him enough to end the season 110th on the final table.
Three-time Major champ Padraig Harrington produced a closing bogey-free 65 to win his first Euro title in eight years.