JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA |
Otto appeared to have a comfortable time of it
with six holes to play, but a late critical birdie
was needed to capture the South African Open
Championship on Sunday.
Otto, of South Africa, won his home coun-
try’s national title by one over Bernd Weis-
berger of Austria. It was Otto’s second victory
on the European Tour, which co-sanctioned the
tournament with the Sunshine
Tour. His first came at the 2008
Otto started Sunday’s
final round at 14 under, with a
three-shot lead over four players,
including Retief Goosen. When
he reached the 13th hole, his lead
remained at three and it appeared
the title was his.
However, Otto made bogeys
at the 13th, 15th and the par- 5
16th to fall into a tie with Weis-
berger. But Otto bounced back
with a six-foot birdie putt at the
short par- 4 17th and a par at the
last to preserve his victory. Otto
posted four rounds at 14-under
274 at Serengeti Golf Club.
With his 14th worldwide vic-
tory, Otto climbs comfortably
into the top 60 on the European
Tour money list and will qualify
for this week’s Hong Kong Open
and the Dubai World Champion-
ship the following week, the fi-
nal event in the European Tour’s
Race To Dubai.
The 35-year-old Otto, who won twice on the
Sunshine Tour this year, climbed into the lead
with a 7-under 65 in the third round that over-
took Goosen, who was the 36-hole leader at 10
under with rounds of 66-68. Otto started the
championship with rounds of 70-67, which put
him three back of Goosen after two rounds.
Weisberger charged up the leaderboard
Sunday with a 4-under 68. He started the day
five back of Otto and pulled even with two holes
to play. Weisberger finished on 13-under 275.
Richard McEvoy of England also shot 68 on
Sunday and shared third at 11-under 277 with
Ockie Strydom (69) and Thomas Aiken (72).
Those closest to Otto after 54 holes failed to
make a run at the leader. Goosen could
manage only 73 to finish at 10 under
along with Magnus A. Carlsson, who
was also tied with Goosen with
one round to play. Last week’s
Alfred Dunhill Championship
winner, Garth Mulroy of South
Africa, was also at 11 under after
three rounds but slipped to a 74
on Sunday to tie for ninth.
Earlier in the week, tourna-
ment promoter Mbali Ngqula
dismissed reports that John Daly
had refused an invitation to play
in the event.
“It is wrong to suggest that
John snubbed our invitation. He
did no such thing,” Ngqula said,
adding that Daly was “very willing”
to play but had been unable to
make it in time.
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