Hot Scot Forsyth storms back for Madeira Islands victory

Last updated at 19:49 23 March 2008

Scotland's Alastair Forsyth came from five behind to beat South African Hennie

Otto at the first hole of a play-off for the Madeira Islands Open.

The 32-year-old from Glasgow, who did not make a single halfway cut in his

first five starts of the year, fired a closing 67 to take full advantage of

Otto's worst round of the week.

Seeking his first European title - he was not even the holder of a full Tour

card entering the tournament - Otto followed three opening rounds of 67 with

only a level-par 72.

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Forsyth measures up a putt on his way to victory

Forsyth, whose one previous victory came after a play-off with Australian

Stephen Leaney in Malaysia six years ago, could have taken the first prize of

almost £90,000 without the need for sudden death.

Seven birdies and two bogeys in his first 14 holes put him one ahead, but he

bogeyed the short 17th and then both he and Otto birdied the 386-yard 18th to

tie on the 15-under-par mark of 273, four clear of England's Gary Clark.

For Forsyth it was the fourth time out of four that he had birdied the final

hole during the tournament - and he then made it five out of five to capture the


Clark was the other member of the final group and his closing birdie was

important too, putting him third on his own at 11 under. The 36-year-old

Londoner's best-ever finish on the circuit earned him £33,693.

Welshman Bradley Dredge, needing to win to move back into the world's top 50 a

week before the cut-off for the Masters, finished only joint 15th.

That means Dredge probably has to take the Andalucian Open title at Aloha in

Spain next Sunday to earn a return trip to Augusta, where he was only three off

the lead with a round to play last year.

Forsyth, pipped by Ian Poulter for the Tour's Rookie of the Year award in 2000,

had had 23 top-10 finishes since his first win, but this was the perfect way to

put his nightmare start to 2008 behind him. He returned home from events in Abu

Dhabi, Qatar, Dubai, India and Malaysia without having picked up a single


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Forsyth with the trophy

It was not the first time Forsyth and Otto had clashed in a play-off. They also

faced each other in the 1996 South African amateur stroke play championship -

and on that occasion went nine extra holes before the Scot won that as well.

This time a seven-foot putt - the same difference that both had holed from on

the 72nd hole - settled the issue after Otto had missed from eight.

"I went into the year feeling pretty good about my game, but I made a really

poor start with all the missed cuts," Forsyth told

"But I have been playing all right over the past couple of weeks, so I felt as

if a good result was just around the corner.

"It was the worst start to a year I had ever made, but I had trust in my game

and faith in my ability and a lot of trust in my coach Bob (Torrance).

"If he tells you that, it is good enough for me and he was right."

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