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Tuesday, 09 January 2018
Graeme Storm  (Getty Images)
Graeme Storm (Getty Images)

Graeme Storm is in a relaxed mood as he defends his BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni crown following a terrific 2017 season.

The Englishman secured his second European Tour title after overcoming four-time Major Championship winner Rory McIlroy in a play-off which reached a third extra hole.

The victory came just 84 days after a missed par putt on the last hole at the Portugal Masters in October 2016 lost his playing privileges by just 100 euros, only to be handed a reprieve when Patrick Reed opted not to play the Final Series.

It was also Storm's first European Tour win in over nine years, as he recalled: "I was more nervous during the last few holes of the regulation 72 holes than I was in the play-off, because I kind of knew the second place would give me a decent cheque.

 

"Obviously I wanted to win and obviously to come through on top against arguably one of the best players in the world right now is a great achievement for myself."

It sparked a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the 39 year old as he picked up a cheque worth 164,408 euros for the triumph at Glendower Golf Club, before recording five more top 10 finishes to break the one million euro mark for the first time in his career.

"I'm looking forward to defending this week. I'm little more relaxed than I was the previous season, but now I am really looking forward to the tournament and the year ahead.

"I played great all year last season, I think I had something like another five top-10s as well, and I was close to challenging in a few events.

I am really looking forward to the tournament and the year ahead - Graeme Storm

"In the British Masters, which is kind of home soil for me really just 40 minutes away, I finished fourth there so the whole season went really well last year, you know if I can play like that again this season, then it would be good."

Storm hopes to become the first player to retain the title since Trevor Immelman in 2004 but an injury picked up towards the end of last season could hamper his chances.

"I have been suffering with a bit of an injury," he added. "So I had to have a cortisone injection on my wrist and I wasn't really able to practice that much. 

"The wrist is fine, the issue basically is in the hand, but it kind of plays up in the wrist, as the time goes on, but the hand is still a little bit painful. It's manageable, but I just have to work with the physio to keep on top of it."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1PAISLEY, ChrisENG18-21
2GRACE, BrandenRSA18-18
3RITCHIE, JCRSA18-16
T4VINCENT, ScottZIM18-14
T4KRUYSWIJK, JacquesRSA18-14
T4BLAAUW, JacquesRSA18-14

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