TURIN, Italy – Hennie Otto of South Africa held on to claim a second Italian Open victory by two shots on Sunday, while Stephen Gallacher came up just short of an automatic Ryder Cup spot after finishing third.
Otto, who won the event in 2008, shot a 4-under 68 to finish with a 20-under total of 268 and hold off David Howell, who surged up the leaderboard with a 63 to finish second. Howell opened with an eagle and added seven birdies to beat Gallacher (65) by one shot. Gallacher needed a top-two finish to dislodge former U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell from the automatic Ryder Cup places for Europe’s team.
It was only the 38-year-old’s Otto’s second tournament since his recovery from two back operations.
“I was playing well before the injury but it is a surprise to win so soon,” Otto said. “Golf is not perfect and to come back after the operations and win in my second week, I will take that any day.
“Today wasn’t easy because the guys played so well with some of them trying to get The Ryder Cup spots. I really hope Stevie makes it – he deserves it and has proved himself this week.”
Gallacher will now have to wait until Tuesday, when European captain Paul McGinley announces his three wild cards.
“It was a tall order but I am proud of myself the way I have played,” Gallacher said. “I’m delighted with 17 under, it looks just a little short but there is nothing I can do. … There are four or five guys that are worthy (of a wild card) so it’s just what Paul sees.”