Graeme takes South African Open by Storm

JOHANNESBURG • England's Graeme Storm claimed a first European Tour trophy in almost 10 years after holding off the challenge of world No. 2 Rory McIlroy on the third playoff hole to win the South African Open yesterday.

Storm had held a three-shot lead going into the final round and managed a one-under 71 for a tournament total of 18-under 270.

McIlroy led by one shot going into the last two holes, but bogeyed 17 and had to be content with a 68 to force a playoff.

Storm kept his composure though. On the third attempt to separate the pair, he managed a par as McIlroy bogied following a skewed tee shot.

Storm last claimed victory at the 2007 Open de France - his only other European Tour title - and had initially missed out on a European Tour card for this year.

He finished just €100 (S$152) behind Patrick Reed on the money-list last year. But the American was removed having not played in the required number of five tournaments.

"I'm in shock, it's been a surreal week," the 38-year-old said at the trophy presentation.

"To find myself in the position I was in going into the final day and playing against probably the best player in the world right now is just a dream come true.

"I have to thank Patrick Reed for that, I got my playing rights back due to the fact that Patrick couldn't play.

"And to win this tournament, with all the prestige it holds, is incredible."

The South African Open is the second-oldest national championship in the world having first been played in 1893.

Storm is the second Englishman in three years to claim the title after Andy Sullivan defeated home favourite Charl Schwartzel in a playoff in 2015.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2017, with the headline 'Graeme takes South African Open by Storm'. Print Edition | Subscribe