JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - England’s Graeme Storm claimed a first European Tour trophy in almost 10 years after holding off the challenge of world number two Rory McIlroy on the third playoff hole to win the South African Open on Sunday.
Storm had held a three-shot lead going into the final round, but could only manage a 71 for a tournament total of 18 under par.
McIlroy led by one shot going into the last two holes, but bogeyed 17 and had to be content with a 68 to force a playoff.
Storm kept his composure though and on the third attempt to separate the pair, he managed a par as McIlroy bogied following a skewed tee shot.
The 38-year-old Storm last claimed victory at the 2007 Open de France and had initially missed out on a European Tour card for 2017.
He finished 100 euros ($106.41) behind American Patrick Reed on the money-list last year but the latter was removed having not played in the required number of five tournaments.
"I'm in shock, it's been a surreal week," Storm said at the trophy presentation.
"To find myself in the position I was in going into the final day and playing against probably the best player in the world right now is just a dream come true.
"I have to thank Patrick Reed for that, I got my playing rights back due to the fact that Patrick couldn't play. And to win this tournament, with all the prestige it holds, is incredible."
McIlroy took charge of the championship when Storm bogeyed the 14th on Sunday, his first dropped shot in 55 holes, and the Northern Irishman sunk a birdie on the 15th.
Going into the final round, McIlroy was +2 for the final two holes and on Sunday dropped another shot on 17 when he found the bunker off the tee.
He narrowly missed a birdie chance on 18 to seal the title, and while Storm continued to play percentage golf in the playoff, McIlroy was erratic off the tee and finally succumbed on the third extra hole.
The South African Open is the second oldest national championship in the world having first been played in 1893. Storm is the second Englishman in three years to claim the title after Andy Sullivan defeated home favorite Charl Schwartzel in a playoff in 2015.
(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis)