Storm has Reed to thank for SA Open victory

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Graeme Storm has an unlikely player to thank for his victory Sunday at the South African Open:

Patrick Reed

After bogeying the final hole in Portugal last fall, Storm finished 112th in the Race to Dubai standings and was about to lose his playing privileges (by a single shot and about $111). But a few weeks later, Reed was stripped of his European Tour membership after failing to play the minimum number of regular events (five), bumping Storm to the all-important 111th spot.

Storm took full advantage in the first event of 2017, capturing his second European Tour title, but his first in nearly a decade.

“This is a dream come true,” he told reporters afterward, “especially after what happened to me last year with my card and everything. I really took a lot from that experience and told myself to try and grasp the opportunity of getting my livelihood back with both hands and I have done that this week.” 

Storm’s unlikely success story even moved Rory McIlroy, whom the 38-year-old journeyman defeated in the playoff Sunday. 

“What a story it is for him,” McIlroy said. “He thought he had lost his card at the end of last year and there he is now standing with a trophy in his hands in the first event of 2017. I’m delighted for him.”