Eighty-three days after losing his European Tour card, Graeme Storm took Rory McIlroy to a playoff on Sunday to win in the South African Open.
“I’m in shock, this has been a surreal week,” Storm, the No. 251-ranked player in the world, said. “To find myself in the position I was in, playing on the final day with the best player in the world right now. It’s just a dream come true.”
Starting the day with a three-shot lead, Storm almost buckled under the pressure as McIlroy made five birdies in a final-round 68.
But the Northern Irishman’s bogey on the par-3 17th hole teed up a play-off which the player from Hartlepool, England, took.
Storm held his nerve to sink a close-range putt after McIlroy had finished the first time they went back up the 18th hole, and when McIlroy drove wildly the second time, he had a chance.
His first shot was not ideal either, though, following McIlroy into the rough, and back they went again.
The third time out, McIlroy’s second shot on the par-four was a poor one, falling short of the green, and a 45-foot putt from Storm that skipped just past allowed him to take a par.
And when McIlroy failed from seven feet, the title was Storm’s — his second European Tour title, and the first since he won the French Open in 2007.