McIlroy to undergo precautionary MRI
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 15:  Graeme Storm of England poses with the trophy after his play-off win in the final round of the 2017 BMW South African Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club on January 15, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 15:  Graeme Storm of England poses with the trophy after his play-off win in the final round of the 2017 BMW South African Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club on January 15, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

Graeme Storm secured a dream win in the BMW SA Open by beating Rory McIlroy with a par at the third extra hole.

It was just the Englishman's second European Tour win but as it came just 84 days after he thought he had lost his European Tour card, it was of fairytale proportions, all the more so as it came over the world No 2.

Storm missed a par putt on the 18th green at the Portugal Masters in October to lose his playing privileges by just €100 but was handed a reprieve when American Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed did not fulfil his quota of required events to retain his tour membership.

Storm made the very most of his second chance at Glendower Golf Club, overcoming McIlroy on the third extra hole after an enthralling closing round.

Storm hit his approach to the heart of the 18th and made his par three times in the play-off, with McIlroy missing the fairway each time but hitting the green every time until the third attempt.

With Storm narrowly shaving the hole from 40 feet for birdie, McIlroy's pitch from short and left of the green had left him an eight-footer for par, which he missed on the low side.

Storm, 38,  had entered the final day with a three-shot lead and got to 18 under with a closing 71 but McIlroy reeled him in with a 68 to set up the dramatic finale.

The Co Down man was one ahead with two holes to go but plugged in the back lip of a bunker on the par-three 17th and failed to get the ball out at the first attempt, dropping a shot to go to the last tied for the lead with Storm.

Englishman Jordan Smith, last year's Challenge Tour No 1 and a 2013 Walker Cup player alongside Gavin Moynihan and Kevin Phelan,  finished a shot out of the play-off after a 68, with Dean Burmester at 15 under, a shot clear of fellow South Africans Thomas Aiken and Trevor Fisher Jnr.

The win is Storm's second on the European Tour and first since the Open de France ALSTOM, nine years and 198 days, and 274 events ago.

McIlroy was playing the event for the first time since 2009 after agreeing to repay tournament host Ernie Els for supporting the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County in 2015.

McIlroy did pick up a slight back injury on Friday but managed to play on and take Storm all the way to sudden-death. The Northern Irishman is hopeful of being able to play in next week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship but will undergo a precautionary MRI scan on Monday.

Graeme Storm

“I am speechless. It’s been incredible and I can’t quite believe it. I was saying to Rory in the walk up the fairway in the last play-of hole that this was actually the first time we had played together and to play 21 holes with him was just incredible. What a superb guy he is. An absolute gentleman and I think the best player in the world right now. And I have to say a few words on Jordan Smith. What a player he is going to be. He was brilliant today.
“This is a dream come true, 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 if getting my livelihood back with both hands and I have done that this week. It’s an unbelievable feeling. I hung in there today and didn’t play my best stuff but I knew if I could hang in there that I might get my change and thankfully it came.
“It really means everything to me to be in the winner’s circle again. I have been to hell and back to be honest with you. It’s been an absolute roller coaster over the last year and a half – especially the end of last year. There was pressure today but not the same pressure as trying to keep your European Tour card. That’s real pressure and something I don’t want to feel for a long time.”

Rory McIlroy

“Obviously it’s disappointing to finish like that but Graeme has played well all week and what a story it is for him. 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 after the first event of 2017. I’m delighted for him. I wish I could have done a little more but it’s not a bad way to start the season and gives me something to build on in the weeks ahead. I knew that if I had a good week here then I can go to Abu Dhabi next week and win there and get back to Number One so that’s a nice goal to have going into next week.
“I played well and wish I could have got a win but it’s a good start to the year. But look, we have had an absolutely fantastic time here in South Africa over the last ten days and we are already planning to come back near the end of the year.
“The back is kind of ok. I am going for a scan tomorrow. I fly to Dubai tonight and then will go for an MRI tomorrow just to see what’s up with this joint in my back. It was manageable this week with tape and a few pills so I am fine but first and foremost I have to get fully fit and healthy again and hopefully I’ll be alright to play next week.
"We will see what happens. But like I said, it is manageable with the tape and a few anti-inflammatories but it’s not 100 per cent. Part of me really wants to make next week because there is so much to play for but at the same time there is so much to play for over the whole season and I don’t want to jeopardise long term goals for short term gain but hopefully I’ll be good to go.”

Round four scores

270 G Storm (Eng) 69 63 67 71, R McIlroy (Nir) 67 68 67 68, *Storm wins play-off at third extra hole

271 J Smith (Eng) 67 68 68 68,

273 D Burmester (RSA) 67 70 67 69,

274 T Fisher Jnr (RSA) 66 68 71 69, T Aiken (RSA) 67 70 68 69,

275 P Uihlein (USA) 70 64 70 71, J Stalter (Fra) 69 70 65 71, D Drysdale (Sco) 70 65 71 69, M Korhonen (Fin) 72 66 67 70, A Björk (Swe) 68 71 68 68, E Molinari (Ita) 71 70 63 71,

276 J Morrison (Eng) 70 72 66 68,

277 J Winther (Den) 69 70 70 68, R Johnson (Swe) 69 70 66 72, G King (Eng) 73 68 66 70, L Canter (Eng) 69 66 71 71,

278 J Van Zyl (RSA) 71 65 68 74, T Lewis (Eng) 72 71 69 66, J Fahrbring (Swe) 68 71 71 68,

279 J Walters (RSA) 69 72 67 71, J Blaauw (RSA) 72 70 67 70, J Kruger (RSA) 67 67 69 76, K Horne (RSA) 66 69 70 74, R Langasque (Fra) 70 66 68 75,

280 S Soderberg (Swe) 69 72 70 69, C Hanson (Eng) 71 69 66 74, D Fichardt (RSA) 68 72 70 70, J Kingston (RSA) 72 71 67 70, O Fisher (Eng) 68 69 70 73,

281 B Stone (RSA) 74 67 71 69, J Harding (RSA) 70 70 74 67, E Kofstad (Nor) 73 67 76 65, M Foster (Eng) 68 70 73 70, A Knappe (Ger) 71 71 69 70, D Van Der Walt (RSA) 71 67 70 73,

282 P Widegren (Swe) 72 67 68 75, C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 70 70 71 71, P Waring (Eng) 70 70 74 68,

283 L De Jager (RSA) 77 64 67 75, R Van Der Spuy (RSA) 72 70 68 73, A Da Silva (Bra) 73 69 70 71, R Echenique (Arg) 73 70 69 71, T Detry (Bel) 72 71 69 71, J Parry (Eng) 74 67 72 70, J Agren (Swe) 73 69 68 73, U Van Den Berg (RSA) 69 70 73 71, M Hollick (RSA) 70 71 73 69,

284 M Madsen (Den) 75 68 72 69, R McGowan (Eng) 72 71 70 71, S Dyson (Eng) 69 71 71 73,

285 G Mulroy (RSA) 71 71 73 70, D Brooks (Eng) 69 71 70 75, S Norris (RSA) 69 69 71 76,

286 A Otaegui (Esp) 71 69 70 76, D Van Tonder (RSA) 73 69 72 72,

287 S Tiley (Eng) 69 72 73 73, L Bjerregaard (Den) 72 71 67 77, J Kruyswijk (RSA) 73 69 70 75,

288 P Angles (Esp) 72 71 70 75,

289 T Moore (RSA) 70 73 69 77,

290 J Kamte (RSA) 70 68 77 75, P Maddy (Eng) 71 69 76 74,

292 S Engell Andersen (Ken) 72 71 70 79, A Georgiou (RSA) 72 71 78 71,

295 N Fasth (Swe) 70 73 74 78,

297 O Strydom (RSA) 72 70 73 82