GRAEME Storm was just unable to sneak into the top 20 at the Compass Group English Open yesterday.

The Hartlepool golfer, who made the cut with a two-round total of 140, four under par, had an indifferent final round at the Forest of Arden.

Storm carded a par 72 on Saturday before shooting one under yesterday, but it was not all plain sailing for the 24-year-old.

The Andrew Chandler-managed professional eagled the par five 17th to make a late surge up the leaderboard, but a bogey at the 18th - the fifth time he failed to make par on the last day - pushed him back to tie 27th place.

Storm, who made final round birdies at the first, fourth, fifth, 12th and 15th, finished 12 shots behind winner Darren Clarke.

Clarke gave himself the perfect boost for his head-to-head clash with Tiger Woods at this week's United States Open.

The Ulsterman defied some foul weather at the Warwickshire course to win his third English Open title in four years.

Clarke ended an 11-month barren spell by splashing his way to a three-stroke victory, his superb closing 68 giving him the £133,330 first prize with a 17-under-par total of 271.

Dane Soren Hansen was second after three closing birdies and Clarke's Ryder Cup team-mate Phillip Price was third for the second week running, this time jointly with France's Raphael Jacquelin.

Now Clarke will hope to display the same form when he is paired with Woods in the first two rounds at Bethpage Park - at 7,214 yards the longest course ever used for the US Open. And, amazingly, a par 70.

Woods already knows what he is capable of. Two years ago in the world matchplay championship in California they clashed in the final and Clarke turned on the style to take the million-dollar first prize 4 and 3.

The 33-year-old was the only player in the world's top 30 taking part in the English Open and his class showed.

He shared the first round lead with Australian Jarrod Moseley, the second round with Scottish rookie David Drysdale and the third with Jacquelin.