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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2008 > European Tour > Madeira Islands Open > Round 4


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Alastair Forsyth beats Hennie Otto in a playoff

Britain’s Alastair Forsyth surged from five strokes behind Hennie Otto to capture the Madeira Islands Open title on Sunday after a sudden-death playoff.

Forsyth’s birdie at the first extra hole earned the Scot his second European Tour victory and his second playoff success.

Both players had finished on 15-under-par 273, Forsyth with a five-under 67 and South African Otto a 72.

It was also his second playoff victory against Otto. In 1996, when they were both amateurs, Forsyth beat the South African in the Scottish strokeplay championship.

“I felt I was a wee bit one-up on him already when we set out,” Forsyth told a news conference. “But I bet he was thinking he would get one back on me. I knew I was going to need a birdie to win, though.”

England’s Gary Clark finished third, four strokes off the pace.

Otto, leader after the second and third round, began the final round promisingly with two early birdies but his round started to unravel from the fifth and by the 12th his playing partner Forsyth had caught and passed him.

Forsyth showed fragility, too, however, when his three-putt bogey on the 71st hole drew him and Otto back together. Both players birdied the 18th then to throw the outcome into sudden-death.

To add to the drama, low-lying cloud up the mountain at Santo da Serra towards the end of the final round, left players only able to hit when the mist cleared.

Having both hit close for their birdies in normal time, at the second time of playing the 18th as the first playoff hole, Otto nearly holed out with his second shot but after his ball spun back eight feet he missed the putt.

Forsyth’s successful seven-footer earned him the $180,000 first prize and made it two out of two in playoffs as a pro.

In the 2002 Malaysian Open, the 32-year-old Glaswegian overcame Australian Stephen Leaney over nine holes for his maiden title.

It was a complete change in fortunes this year for the winner who had missed the cut in all his five 2008 events.

“It’s the worst start I’ve ever made,” added Forsyth, “but I’d played well at the end of last season and just got a bit rusty over the winter.”

Otto was looking for his debut in the winner’s enclosure to regain his tour card but frittered away his overnight advantage over the front nine.

“I putted really well until today,” the runner-up said. “When it was the playoff, I thought ‘here we go again’. But he beat me again.

“I just have to look at next week as another chance, I’m playing well enough.”


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