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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2007 > European Tour > Open de France > Round 4


Graeme Storm earns first European Tour win

Britain's Graeme Storm won the French Open on Sunday by a shot from Denmark's overnight leader Soren Hansen after starting out five strokes behind.

The former British Amateur champion became the European Tour's 14th first time winner of the season as he closed with a five under 66 for a seven-under 277 total.

Eight-time European number one Colin Montgomerie led with four holes to go but two late bogeys left the Scot in a share of third place with Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, Ireland's Damien McGrane and Briton Simon Khan, two strokes behind Storm.

By picking up $895,000, one of the richest first prizes of the season, Storm also clinched a British Open spot from a mini order of merit that ended with the French event.

Storm's victory ended a seven year wait for success.

He was the player who holed Britain and Ireland's winning putt in the 1999 Walker Cup match against America and Storm has now joined his Nairn team mates Paul Casey, Luke Donald and Simon Dyson by enjoying a Tour victory.

A birdie on the 14th took Storm ahead of the field and the 29-year-old Englishman clung on to his lead despite a brave attempt by Hansen to catch him.

The Dane double-bogeyed twice in the first six holes to tumble down the leaderboard but hit back coming home.

Hansen needed to hole an unlikely 50-foot birdie putt on the last to force a playoff but at least ensured second place by two-putting.

For Storm the long-awaited victory was a rags-to-riches story. After losing his card in 2002/03 he was so short of cash he had to resort to washing cake trays for a living during the winter, earning only $200 for a 40-hour week.

His determined success, though, has given him a new outlook.

"Working in a cake factory was a bit of a come-down for me," Storm told reporters, "but in a way it helped me because it showed me the other side of life and how hard you have to work.

"This win has now changed my life."

Montgomerie's consolation was his best performance since finishing tied second in last year's U.S. Open. The 44-year-old Scot's Achilles heel continues to be his putting, however.

A missed three-foot putt to bogey the 15th with a three-putt took Montgomerie off the top of the leaderboard and subsequently ended his bid to win for the first time in 19 months.

"I'm going to take lots of positives out of this week," he told reporters. "I now know if I can putt well I can win."

Bjorn, who took the lead over the front nine, also had his best result this season after missing the cut in his last two events.

Britain's Bradley Dredge claimed the other British Open mini order of merit spot by finishing in a tie for 10th place.



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