Otto in WGC-Bridgestone Invitational field

Hennie Otto will think back fondly on his victory in the Sunshine Tour’s Dimension Data Pro-Am as he tees it up in this week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational together with five other South Africans.

He joins an elite field at the 7,400-yard par-70 South Course of Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio in the third WGC event of the year thanks to his four-stroke win over James Kingston on the Fancourt courses – The Links, Outeniqua and Montau – in February.

Otto has been having a mixed year on the European Tour, with two top-10 finishes – his most recent a seventh in the Alstom Open de France last month – and six missed cuts, two coming in the last two weeks.

After winning the Dimension Data Pro-Am, he finished seventh in the Telkom PGA Championship the following week in his last appearance in Africa this year.

In the Bridgestone field will be a returning Tiger Woods, ranked this week below Ernie Els for the first time in over a decade at 28, as well as the world’s top 50 players not in the tournament through a variety of other qualification criteria.

Hunter Mahan is the defending champion, one of a group of younger players who have been dominating world golf until Darren Clarke took the Open Championship last month.

Clarke is also in the field, as is Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and US Open champion Rory McIlroy, a week ahead of the final major of the year, the PGA Championship.

Els, Retief Goosen, Rory Sabbatini and 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen are the other South Africans in the field.

Sabbatini has been the best performing South African in the field over the tournament’s history, being runner-up four strokes behind Stewart Cink with Woods in 2004, and with Justin Rose in 2007, a massive eight shots behind a flying Woods.

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