Graeme Storm backs Chris Paisley to bounce back

Chris Paisley lost his card in his first European Tour season but Graeme Storm believes he is good enough to bounce back and win European events

Chris Paisley in action
Chris Paisley in action

With Chris Paisley heading for the uncertainty of Q School, having lost his card in his first season on the European Tour, he can take heart from the encouraging prediction of a man who has overcome even hairier moments.

At 35, Graeme Storm has risen from tough times in his early twenties.

Next season will mark his tenth successive year on a tour that has brought him £4.4m in winnings, more than any other golfer in the North East and Cumbria.

He has also matured into the go-to guy living in the region for top of the range venues and manufacturers who want to add a little extra to their brand.

TaylorMade, who sponsor the De Vere Slaley Hall Academy, have chosen the former French Open champion to present a masterclass at the opening of their tuning centre at Slaley tomorrow.

At the start of this month Storm, affiliated to Rockliffe Hall, was one of the driving forces supporting the success the team at Steve Gibson’s five-star resort achieved in hosting the English Senior Open for the first time.

It was a different story when Storm turned pro after an amateur career which encompassed the British Amateur title, the winning putt in a Walker Cup and becoming the region’s first player to lift the McGregor Trophy, the England Under-16 Open. Storm, from Hartlepool, lost his Tour card in his own debut season, 2001, and failed to get it back three times in a row. A ten-week spell either side of Christmas 2002 was as bad as it got.

He endured the bleakest of mid-winters working outside a cake factory, using a jet spray to blast clean steel trays containing the solid remains of cakes baked in ovens.

The parents of his then girlfriend and future wife, Sara Mullender, lent him £10,000 to provide the base to launch a two-year comeback on the Challenge Tour, two wins within six weeks in 2004 restoring his European Tour card.

As Storm puts it: “I have had invaluable help from other people, but without Sara’s folks goodness knows where I would be now.”

He is certainly in a better place than scraping a living in the cold outside a factory. So is Paisley, who made a profit of almost £95,000 this season and was only ten places short of achieving the ranking he needed to keep his card. A week today Storm will tee off in the Turkish Airlines Open chasing a top-five finish, which should be enough ensure a top 60 rankings spot and a place in the following week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

On the day the tournament in Turkey finishes, the 27-year-old Paisley, from Mickley Square and attached to Close House, plays the first of the six Q School rounds in Girona, Spain.

Storm said: “All Chris Paisley has been lacking is the experience he has gained from his first season on tour and I would be surprised if that is not enough to get him through tour school first time. He is good enough to get his card back and go on to win European Tour events and become a top player.

“I have seen him play a couple of times, although I have not been grouped with him, and I have watched him on the range.

“Chris has got the talent and he has got all the shots. He handles himself well and seems a confident and pleasant young man.

“He will have thought out what he needs to do to make the step back up and how hard he needs to work at it, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of Chris Paisley on the European Tour.”

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