Graeme Storm wins South African Open by defeating world number two Rory McIlroy on third extra hole at Glendower GC
Graeme Storm Wins South African Open
Just 84 days after missing out on his 2017 European Tour card, Englishman Graeme Storm won the BMW South African Open for his second Tour win.
He began the day with the lead but found himself one back of a charging Rory McIlroy with two to play, but was level with the world number two at 18-under-par coming down the last after McIlroy bogeyed the par-3 17th.
The pair each parred the closing hole before both parring it again twice in a row in the sudden-death playoff.
Storm made his fourth par of the day on the tough 18th which was good enough for victory at the third extra hole after McIlroy failed to get up and down from just short of the green to make bogey.
It was his first European Tour victory since the 2007 French Open.
The victory earns Storm €164,408 and he is now excempt on the European Tour until the end of the 2018 season.
The 38-year-old initially missed out on his 2017 card by €100 but was handed a lifeline after Patrick Reed missed the Final Series.
Related: Rory McIlroy What’s in the Bag?
“I am speechless. It’s been incredible and I can’t quite believe it,” he said.
“This is a dream come true, especially after what happened to me last year with my card and everything. I really took a lot from that experience and told myself to try and grasp the opportunity of getting my livelihood back with both hands and I have done that this week.
Talking points from the BMW South African Open
1 – Graeme Storm’s victory will be one of the stories of 2017 after he so narrowly missed out on his card at the 2017 Portugal Masters. With his job now sorted for at least the next two years we may see him feature on more leaderboards this season.
2 – In worrying news, Rory McIlroy has revealed that he will have an MRI scan on his back. He complained about back pain earlier in the week but has said he thinks that will still play in this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The 27-year-old told the European Tour: “Part of me really wants to make this week because there is so much to play for but at the same time there is so much to play for over the whole season and I don’t want to jeopardize long-term goals for short-term gain, hopefully I’ll be good to go.”
3 – Rookie Jordan Smith finished on 17-under-par for third place alone, one shot off the playoff, in just his fifth European Tour event. The 24-year-old, who won the 2016 Challenge Tour Order of Merit, played in the final group with Storm and McIlroy. He is in Golf Monthly’s top 10 players to watch in 2017.
Venue: Glendower Golf Club, City of Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa
Date: Jan 12 – 15
Course stats: par 72, 7,594 yards
Winner’s cheque: €164,409
1 Graeme Storm (Eng) 69 63 67 71 270 €164,408
2 Rory McIlroy (NIR) 67 68 67 68 270 €119,287
3 Jordan Smith (Eng) 67 68 68 68 269 €71, 780
4 Dean Burmester (RSA) 67 70 67 69 273 €50,930
5 Thomas Aiken (RSA) 67 70 68 69 274 €39, 779
5 Trevor Fisher Jnr (RSA) 66 68 71 69 274 €39,779
7 Alexander Bjork (Swe) 68 71 68 68 275 €22,457
7 David Drysdale (Sco) 70 65 71 69 275 €22,457
7 Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 72 66 67 70 275 €22,457
7 Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 71 70 63 71 275 €22,457
7 Joel Stalter (Fra) 69 70 65 71 275 €22,457
7 Peter Uihlein (USA) 70 64 70 71 275 €22,457
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage