Storm brewing at Wentworth

Storm heads into the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in good form

Storm heads into the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in good form

First published in Golf The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Football/Golf Writer

IF a golfer expects to figure in just one tournament on English soil over the course of a season, he might as well head in to it in style.

And, after two successive top 30 finishes, that is the mind-set of Graeme Storm, who has arrived at Wentworth hopeful of a strong finish at the BMW PGA Championship.

Storm will tee off at noon today alongside two-time European tour winner James Kingston and the rookie David Smith, but is well aware of the high class field which will be playing around him in the European Tour's flagship event.

The Wentworth Club might not be regarded as one of the major venues, although with a pot of €4.5m the likes of Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood have all been lured back to Surrey.

"It's such a shame there is only one annually scheduled tournament in England nowadays," said Storm last night as he chatted away on the chipping green. "I know Lee Westwood has been speaking about it publicly and I have to agree it is a shame. It's so nice to be back over here.

"I can understand the problems. There is a recession on, so it is difficult for golf clubs to try to find the money to put up which would secure an event.

"Hopefully it will happen again one day. Just have a look around, the top three golfers in the world are all here. This is the biggest tournament of the season for many because you can't always qualify for The Open."

Rockliffe Hall, where he is an attached touring pro, have explored the possibility of hosting an event, while Wynyard and Slaley Hall have both held big golf tournaments before in the shape of the Seve Trophy and Great North Open.

For now, though, Storm - who does hope to qualify for The Open at Royal Lytham & St Anne's in July - has to try to make the most of the events he does get to experience in this country; with the first round at Wentworth an opportunity for him to try to climb further up to the Race to Dubai rankings.

The 34-year-old has reached 68th on the order of merit after securing a season high seventh at the Open de Espana a fortnight ago. That arrived on the back of 25th at the Ballantine's Championship and 52nd at the Volvo China Open.

After a fortnight's break he is hoping for such promising form to continue down south. "It's going really well at the moment and I'm feeling much happier about things," said Storm.

"I have had one problem in the build up this week. My driver, which I have been happy with, cracked on Monday on the range so I have had to get a new one. I'm not one for change, but I've got to be happy with how things have been going so hopefully it will stay that way."

Storm's happiness on the course has coincided with another change of caddy. He has been working with David Lynn's former bagman, Julian Phillips, since missing the cut at the Avantha Masters in India in February.

"Julian's been great," said Storm, still searching for his first Tour win since the French Open title in 2007. "He's 52 now, got plenty of experience, worked with plenty of golfers and what's nice about him is he likes to chat.

"Hopefully he will be with me for the long term, that's the idea, because we both seem to work well together. I am really enjoying having him with me because he keeps me relaxed.

"I really do think having him with me has helped me to find my form and if I can just improve my putting, which has been a bit wayward, then hopefully I will push right up the leaderboard after making the cuts." Starting, of course, at Wentworth.

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