Storm cloud has lifted

Graeme Storm keeps his European Tour card for 2017 having originally lost out by €100

Graeme Storm received one of the most important calls of his career following the Turkish Airlines Open – one that meant his place on the European Tour for 2017 was safe.

Following a heartbreaking finish to the final regular season event in Portugal – where Storm held his head in his hands on the 18th green having bogeyed the last hole to miss out on his European Tour card by €100 – the 38-year-old’s 112th place finish in the Race to Dubai has been confirmed as the final spot for the 2017 season.

Storm has American Patrick Reed to thank for the reprieve. The Ryder Cup star had secured his card through the rankings, but when he pulled out of the Final Series events in Turkey and South Africa he fell short of the Tour’s requirement to play five ‘regular’ season events.

That meant he was removed from the Race to Dubai and his place went to the next man in the rankings – a relieved Storm.

“It’s been a rollercoaster the last couple of weeks,” Storm said shortly after receiving the call from the Tour.

“I knew Patrick hadn’t quite made the numbers and it was a case of seeing if he’d take the invite to South Africa.

“It was a nice phone call to take. I just tried to focus on getting ready for tour school to be honest. My first focus was to make sure I was still playing decent golf and in decent shape ready for that. I was just praying it would go my way.

“I’ve been on tour a long time now and I didn’t want to lose my playing status. It’s great to look forward to the 2017 season.”

The 38-year-old from Hartlepool bogeyed the final hole of the Portugal Masters and feared the worst. He was proved right as the tournament concluded, that closing bogey at Vilamoura cost him his card on next year’s European Tour as he fell €100 short of 111th place in the money list having posted an impressive 15 under-par total amid conflicting stories of what would be the exact cut-off point.

At first it was said to be 110th place in the Race to Dubai, then 111th and then even 112th but Storm didn’t know it would be 111th when he came off the course.

Following the Portugal Masters he said: “I was very disappointed when I bogeyed the last hole. I didn’t really know what the position was and it was a real kick in the teeth to then just miss out on keeping may card by €100.

“It was gut wrenching. It’s just been a really frustrating year and, at times, I put a bit too much pressure on myself. You just can’t afford to miss the cut in the big events which have massive prize money at stake.”

With the call, Storm secured his place on the European Tour for a 16th year and is looking forward to getting his season underway in South Africa later this year.