Rory McIlroy shrugs off injury to storm right into frame at BMW South African Open
Graeme Storm fired a brilliant 63 to take a two-shot lead and keep world number two Rory McIlroy at bay on day two of the BMW South African Open.
The Englishman thought he had lost his playing privileges on the European Tour by an agonising €100 following the Portugal Masters in October but was handed a reprieve as United States Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed failed to play the required number of events.
Storm took advantage in some style yesterday, carding nine birdies in a blemish-free effort which equalled the course record at Glendower GC to get to 12 under and lead the way from home duo Trevor Fisher Jnr and Jbe Kruger, as well as American Peter Uihlein.
McIlroy was a further shot back after a remarkable 68 that saw him pick up eight shots in as many holes from the eighth to the 15th but also record three bogeys and a double-bogey.
Storm made his birdies on the 10th, 11th, 12th 18th, first, third, fifth, sixth and eighth and was in no doubt as to the key to his success.
"The putter was hot, it was hot yesterday and it was hot today," he said.
"Yesterday I didn't capitalise as much as I did today.
"I could have birdied a couple more of the par fives, I only birdied one of them today. So to shoot 63 and only having birdied one of the par fives around here, you know, I've played pretty well.
"I tip Rory to win this week because he hits it miles and he hits it straight.
"If I keep on his tail, I'll be happy."
McIlroy's eight-hole burst did not include a single missed putt and was all the more remarkable considering he was struggling with a back injury.
"I'm actually surprised I'm standing here, I actually thought about pulling out before even teeing off today," he said.
"I tweaked my back somehow and the first few shots today weren't very comfortable and it still isn't really comfortable. I can't really take a deep breath because I've done something to my upper back.
"I'm going to go get some treatment now. Considering that, I played well, stuck at it and hopefully I can feel better tomorrow."
English pair Laurie Canter and Jordan L Smith, Scot David Drysdale and South African Keith Horne were alongside McIlroy, with Jaco van Zyl a further shot back after recording a hole-in-one on the 17th.
The threat of lightning brought an early end to proceedings yesterday, with 45 players returning to finish their rounds this morning.
• The world of golf has paid tribute to John Jacobs, the 'founding father' of the European Tour and two-time European Ryder Cup captain, following his death at the age of 91.
His death was announced on the European Tour website.
Born in Woodsetts, South Yorkshire, Jacobs led the 1979 and 1981 Ryder Cup teams, the first two competitions to feature a combined European side.
In 1954, Jacobs led the calls for the modernisation of the game, to include an increase and better distribution of prize funds.
Jacobs took up the role of tournament director-general of the PGA executive committee in October 1971 and went on to establish a 'Continental Swing' which embraced the French, German and Spanish Opens, with the latter becoming the first official European Tour event at Pals Golf Club in Girona in April 1972.
As well as helping transform the professional game, Jacobs also influenced generations of golfers through his coaching methods.