Graeme Storm shoots 63 to hold two-shot lead at BMW SA 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 SA Open.
The Englishman thought he had lost his playing privileges on the European Tour by an agonising 100 euros 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 on Friday, 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, and American Peter Uihlein.
McIlroy was then 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 told the European Tour's official website. "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, with 45 players returning to finish their rounds on Saturday morning.