Otto wins first European Tour title
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2008 Italian Open | Round Four | 12 May 2008
South Africa’s Hennie Otto won his first European Tour event at this week’s Methorios Capital Italian Open in Milan but the 31-year-old was forced to hold off late charges from Oliver Wilson and Robert Karlsson to ensure the victory.
Otto led by four as the final round got underway but courtesy of a strong start he was ahead by five at the 5th and made the turn four ahead of Karlsson, Wilson and Phillip Archer. Wilson began a run of five consecutive birdies at the 9th that would move him within one of Otto and it appeared that the 27-year-old may well have created an opportunity to finally win on the European Tour but it was not to be as the momentum slowed with four pars to finish.
Otto continued a good run of recent form including when runner up to Alastair Forsyth at the Madeira Island Open but this is a victory that will give him full status in Europe and provide a level of security that will enable him to progress even further.
Wilson who was also looking for his first win on the European Tour after five runner up finishes in more than three seasons on tour, one of them as recently as the Volvo China Open last month, fell just one short but his turn must surely come before long for the successful 2003 Walker Cup player.
Karlsson had the option to play the Players Championship this week but chose instead to play this event in order to accumulate Ryder Cup and World ranking points. The ploy worked although he will be disappointed to have let a two shot lead after 36 holes slip.
The best of the Australians was Marcus Fraser who continued his consistent if unspectacular year when 17th. Fraser has made all but one of eleven cuts this season.
Scott Barr was 23rd while Matthew Millar was 30th and New Zealander Gareth Paddison was 59th.