Storm hits last round of SA Open with three-stroke lead | SASCOC - SASCOC

Storm hits last round of SA Open with three-stroke lead

It’s hard to quibble when the 54-hole leader last made a bogey 41 holes ago, and that’s exactly the position in which England’s Graeme Storm finds himself after Saturday’s third round of the BMW SA Open proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.

Storm fired a five-under-par 67 to reach 17-under for the tournament at Glendower Golf Club to head into Sunday’s closing round with a three-stroke edge over world number two Rory McIlroy. South Africa’s Jbe’ Kruger and England’s Jordan L Smith share third spot, a further shot back.

‘I’m just really pleased that I kept the momentum from yesterday and played really nicely and holed some good putts,’ said Storm. ‘I knew it was going to be tricky coming in because the wind picked up on the last few and I don’t hit it as far as the other boys but I managed to play well enough.’

Storm seemed imperturbable throughout the round as McIlroy seemed to be intent on throwing the kitchen sink at him in an attempt to wrest the lead from him – and the Northern Irishman paid the price with bogeys on nine and 18, and a missed birdie putt on 10 which he would ordinarily have sunk.

He managed his way round the course admirably, racking up a streak of 23 successive greens hit in regulation – 18 in the second round, and the first five in the third. That was precisely the kind of precision that gives a player a chance around the Glendower layout.

Storm grabbed his chances on all four of the par-fives, and made his other birdie of the day on the par-four seventh – where McIlroy thrilled the crowd with a great nine-iron which pitched and spun back into the hole for eagle.

‘It was a perfect yardage – 160 yards, just a little bit of breeze and it was just a nice sort of controlled nine-iron in there, so it’s always nice when good shots like that end up in the hole – it’s a bit of a bonus obviously,’ said McIlroy.

Kruger made things difficult for himself by lacing a round of seven birdies with four bogeys as he carded a three-under 69. ‘I’m missing fairways, missing greens but I’m putting well and that definitely helps,’ he laughed.

It looked for a while as if he was going to drop completely off the pace, but four consecutive birdies from 12 to 15 saw him come roaring back – only for him to drop another on the 16th.

It all sets up for a thriller from McIlroy as he attempts to chase down Storm in the final round. ‘I wish I was a little bit closer to the lead,’ said McIlroy. ‘Graeme’s three shots ahead of me at the minute so it would be nice to be within one or two but get off to a fast start tomorrow and it will be interesting.’

Storm is not concerned about what will be coming his way. ‘I’ve never played with Rory before and I know him really well so it will be a lot of fun,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure how many fans I will have compared to him but we will have some fun out there.’

And Kruger is relishing the challenge too. ‘I think it will be cool with all the fans out there following him,’ he said. ‘It’s amazing for South African golf and I think all of us embrace it.’

199 – Graeme Storm 69 63 67
202 – Rory McIlroy 67 68 67
203 – Jordan L Smith 67 68 68, Jbe’ Kruger 67 67 69
204 – Edoardo Molinari 71 70 63, Joel Stalter 69 70 65, Dean Burmester 67 70 67, Romain Langasque 70 66 68, Jaco Van Zyl 71 65 68, Peter Uihlein 70 64 70
205 – Richard S Johnson 69 70 66, Mikko Korhonen 72 66 67, Thomas Aiken 67 70 68, Keith Horne 66 69 70, Trevor Fisher Jnr 66 68 71
206 – Chris Hanson 71 69 66, David Drysdale 70 65 71, Laurie Canter 69 66 71
207 – Gary King 73 68 66, Alexander Bjork 68 71 68, Pontus Widegren 72 67 68, Oliver Fisher 68 69 70
208 – Justin Walters 69 72 67, Louis de Jager 77 64 67, James Morrison 70 72 66, Dawie Van der Walt 71 67 70
209 – Jeff Winther 69 70 70, Jacques Blaauw 72 70 67, Shaun Norris 69 69 71
210 – Daniel Brooks 69 71 70, Adrian Otaegui 71 69 70, Darren Fichardt 68 72 70, Jens Fahrbring 68 71 71, Jonathan Agren 73 69 68, Rourke van der Spuy 72 70 68, James Kingston 72 71 67, Lucas Bjerregaard 72 71 67
211 – Simon Dyson 69 71 71, Christiaan Bezuidenhout 70 70 71, Sebastian Soderberg 69 72 70, Mark Foster 68 70 73, Alexander Knappe 71 71 69
212 – Ulrich van den Berg 69 70 73, Brandon Stone 74 67 71, Jacques Kruyswijk 73 69 70, Adilson Da Silva 73 69 70, Thomas Detry 72 71 69, Rafa Echenique 73 70 69, Tom Lewis 72 71 69, Titch Moore 70 73 69
213 – John Parry 74 67 72, Stefan Engell Andersen 72 71 70, Ross McGowan 72 71 70, Pep Angles 72 71 70
214 – Paul Waring 70 70 74, Justin Harding 70 70 74, Steven Tiley 69 72 73, Michael Hollick 70 71 73, Danie van Tonder 73 69 72
215 – Garth Mulroy 71 71 73, Ockie Strydom 72 70 73, James Kamte 70 68 77, Morten Orum Madsen 75 68 72
216 – Espen Kofstad 73 67 76, Paul Maddy 71 69 76
217 – Niclas Fasth 70 73 74
221 – Andrew Georgiou 72 71 78
WD – Brett Rumford 69 68 WD



Meanwhile, on the amateur scene, the last 12 months have seen the  sun rising over the careers of South Africa’s leading amateurs Marco Steyn, Kyle McClatchie (pictured above) and Jovan Rebula.

The trio were among a nine-strong amateur contingent to tee off in this year’s BMW SA Open but two sobering days in the star-studded field left these rising stars with a lot to chew on.

Steyn was set to take as much as possible away from the experience, but was left rueing a double bogey six at the seventh that cost him a spot in the weekend field at Glendower Golf Club.

‘To miss the cut by one just shot was gut-wrenching,’ said Steyn. ‘I was bitterly disappointed, but you have to get over it and move on. This is the career I’ve chosen and I’m sure the future will bring much more and worse disappointments. This was the most fantastic golfing experience of my career and I am so thankful that I had this opportunity.

‘I went out there today and really enjoyed standing in the crowds on the other side of the ropes just as much. There were some incredible shots out there and it was great to watch without the stress and the pressure of competing.’

McClatchie crafted a magnificent one-under-par 71 to lead the amateur contingent in the first round, but the Serengeti golfer also missed out on the chance to challenge for the Freddie Tait Trophy on Sunday. A bogey at 10 on an otherwise flawless back nine proved one shot too may.

‘It looked like Marco and I were in with a shout to make the cut at even-par 144 when the second round was suspended, but the guys who had to finish up on Saturday morning shot the lights out,’ he said.

‘It was such an honour to tee it up in our national championship. The atmosphere was unbelievable and to have the chance to play at this level was incredible. It was hugely disappointing to miss the cut, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.’

Rebula, who missed the cut alongside his famous uncle and tournament host Ernie Els, described his experience as ‘pure magic’.

‘This was one of the most magical experiences of my life,’ the George golfer said. ‘The course, the hospitality, the atmosphere and the crowds was everything I imagined and more.

‘It hits you when you stand on that first tee in the first round and you have to fight the nerves, but then the golf takes over. It hurt to miss the cut, but I wouldn’t have missed this experience for all the money in the world. The chance to play in this championship and the support I got from my family and my friends made this experience even better.

‘We are really thankful to Golf RSA and the South African Golf Association for giving us this unique opportunity to test ourselves on this stage – this was an experience I will treasure forever.’

But perhaps Free State golfer Juran Dreyer said it best.

Having won the Irene qualifier with a 65, Dreyer was stone last after an opening 81 but redeemed himself with a second round 68. ‘How many highs and lows can you fit into three rounds,’ he laughed. ‘Seriously, though, playing the SA Open definitely put the professional game into perspective for me.

‘You had to box smart to avoid trouble at this golf course, but I let the nerves get the better of me in the first round.

‘But walking up to the ninth and 18th greens and hearing that crowd roaring for me like I was Rory McIlroy, was unbelievable. I wish I could bottle that feeling forever. This was the experience of a lifetime and you couldn’t put a price tag on what we will have gained from this experience.’

144 – Marco Steyn 74 70; Kyle McClatchie 71 73
147 – Jovan Rebula 73 74
148 – Philip Geerts 75 73
150 – Juran Dreyer 81 68; Craig Ross SCO 79 71
151 – Theunis Bezuidenhout 74 77
154 – Darin de Smidt 75 79
155 – Dylan Naidoo 77 78

Picture of McClatchie courtesy of Ernest Blignault

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *