GRAEME Storm's final drive to earn a late place at next week's Open Championship started strongly today.

The Hartlepool golfer posted a steady one-under 70 at Royal Liverpool to leave him six shots shy of early leader Rory McIlroy at Royal Aberdeen.

Storm is nicely placed to compete for one of the three Open places available to golfers who have already not sealed their place for Royal Liverpool next week. He would have been even higher placed had he not bogey fived the 18th.

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Malton & Norton's Simon Dyson is a shot further back on level par. Harrogate's John Parry continued his struggles this season with a five-over opening round.

Over at Royal Birkdale yesterday the Ricoh Women's British Open got underway but there was frustration for North Yorkshire's Jodi Ewart-Shadoff. The Middleham golfer posted a 75, three-over, to leave herself with plenty to do to make the cut.