Hennie back with Italian Open victory

The Italian Open was the second event Hennie Otto played after having laser surgery on his back, which made his two-shot victory all the more impressive.


“I was playing well before the injury but it is a surprise to win so soon,” said the 38 year old, who now has three European Tour trophies in his cabinet. “Golf is not perfect and to come back after the operations and win in my second week, I will take that any day.”


Otto won the 2008 edition of the Italian Open as well, making his European breakthrough in Milan.


“I don’t know what it is about Italy,” he said. “Sometimes some golf courses just suit your eye and that was the case again for me this week. It just felt good this week and I was comfortable on this course. “


The Mauritius local played like a seasoned champion throughout the tournament, despite showing discomfort during the third round. He finished on a 20-under-par total with rounds of 67, 62, 71, 68.


“The first two rounds were good because my back was no problem, then yesterday after the tenth it started to stiffen up again – that’s why I hit so many weird shots. But I kept my composure and today wasn’t easy because the guys played so well with some of them trying to get Ryder Cup spots,” he said.


A notable Ryder Cup effort was made by Stephen Gallacher, who needed to finished first or tied second with no more than one other player to oust Graeme McDowell from the automatic places on Paul McGinley’s team.


Gallacher had an incredible week and shot 65 on Sunday to finish sole third, and while he did not make it straight into the team, he’ll surely be a favourite after his stellar Italian performance.


“It was a tall order but I am proud of myself the way I have played,” said the Scotsman. “I'm delighted with 17 under, it’s a little short but there is nothing I can do.”


David Howell closed with a round of nine-under-par 62, but it was not enough and he took sole second behind Otto’s 20-under-par winning total.


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