2013 countdown: No.4 Hennie Otto

The seventh in a series of profiles of the top 10 players on the 2013 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit:


No. 4 – Hennie Otto


Any year that has seven top-10s in it is a good year, and Hennie Otto’s R2,475,830.37 in fourth place on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit represents a very good year.


And yet, the 2011 South African Open champion will probably look back on 2013 with a hint of regret, as he had winning positions in a handful of tournaments and was unable to claim what would have been Sunshine Tour victory number 13 in a distinguished career.


And the one that got away that would have hurt the most was the South African Open Championship, where seven birdies through the 14th hole in the final round had him cruising to what would have been the seal of greatness on his career – not many players win the SA Open more than once.


Then, seemingly from nowhere, he made a bogey on 15 and a double-bogey on 16, while eventual winner Morten Orum Madsen was making birdies there. That was a setback from which Otto was unable to recover, and the opportunity was gone.


He also lost two play-offs too: One was to Ulrich van den Berg in the BMG Classic in October, but the first one came after he had blazed around the Lost City course at Sun City in 10-under-par 62 to close a six-stroke deficit on Jaco van Zyl.


The flair which brought him those 10 birdies in the final round deserted him in the play-off, even while Van Zyl was battling through the play-off hole himself. And despite an opportunity to force the play-off to another hole, Otto missed the two-and-a-half footer and missed out on what would have been a satisfying victory.


In the end, however, Otto’s ninth top-10 finish in the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit in a 17-year span speaks volumes about the man. That next victory is always just around the corner.


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