Calm Storm keeps cool for SA Open lead
14 Jan 2017
It’s hard to quibble when the 54-hole leader last made a bogey 41 holes ago, but that’s exactly the position in which England’s Graeme Storm finds himself after the 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 in Saturday’s third round.
That puts him three shots clear of world number two Rory McIlroy in second and he has a four stroke edge over South Africa’s Jbe’ Kruger and England’s Jordan L Smith heading into today’s final round.
“I am just really pleased that I kept the momentum from the second round 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.
While 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, Storm managed his way round the course admirably, racking up a streak of 23 successive greens hit in regulation – 18 in round two 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 made the most of his chances at 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 all sets up for a thriller as McIlroy will try to chase down Storm for the title.
“I have never played with Rory before but 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."