Otto wins as Gallacher stages late bid

South African Hennie Otto held firm to win the 71st Open d'Italia presented by Damiani for the second time, but Stephen Gallacher's Ryder Cup dream was left hanging in the balance despite a brilliant final round.

Otto took command of the event with a second round of 62 and claimed his third European Tour title with a closing 68 in just his second event back after two back operations this summer.

Gallacher will have to rely on a wild card after coming up agonisingly short in his last-gasp bid to qualify automatically. The Scotsman needed to win or finish joint second with just one other player to dislodge Graeme McDowell from Paul McGinley's European Team for Gleneagles.

The 39 year old carded a flawless closing 65 at Circolo Golf Torino "“ La Mandria to give himself every opportunity, but had to settle for third place, three shots behind South African Otto and a stroke adrift of good friend David Howell, who denied him with a brilliant 63.

Gallacher will hope he has done enough to earn one of McGinley's three wild cards, which will be announced on Tuesday. The World Number 34 lives just 35 miles from Gleneagles and has recorded seven top-ten finishes there in his last 12 appearances.

"If you are not happy after a win then would be something wrong with you, said the winner. "I don't know what it is about Italy "“ 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 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 the Ryder Cup spots. I really hope Stevie makes it "“ he deserves it and has proved himself this week."

Gallacher was obviously disappointed but proud to the statement he made. "I am proud of the way I played all week, and last week. It was a real pressure situation so I am proud of how I handled myself and at the end of the day, to come down to the last hole of a year-long qualifying campaign was a pretty good effort.

"There is nothing more I can do. I got off to a great start today "“ I didn't play the first hole that well but holed a nice putt which settled me down lovely. I played great "“ missed a few, holed a few but I am delighted with how I played.

"It all comes down to someone's opinion now. At the end of the day I haven't done enough. We all had the chance of the start of the year and there are nine guys in the team at the moment who have qualified. There are three picks to come and I just hope that I have done enough to get one."

Paul McGinley was quick in his praise of Gallacher's efforts but was not giving anything away. "I think like everybody else, it was a terrific performance by Stevie today. Really the gun was to his head he performed very strongly and all credit to him but it's unfortunate that he's come up just that one shot short of being an automatic on the team.

"His performance this week will be very strongly in his favour when it comes to making the picks but there's a lot of emotion around here at the moment and let's just put a little bit of cold water on it at the moment, there's a lot of stats to be looked at, a lot of players to be looked at, there's still golf going on in America which is going to be influential in terms of the picks as well too. In the cold light of day tomorrow I'll sit down with the two vice-captains Des (Smyth) and Sam (Torrance) who are in place and we'll assess everything and hopefully come up with three picks that are hopefully going to add to what is already an incredibly strong nine players."

Wade Ormsby was the only Australian to make the cut and finished 35th.

Leading Fourth Round Scores:

268 H Otto (RSA) 67 62 71 68,
270 D Howell (Eng) 73 67 67 63,
271 S Gallacher (Sco) 72 65 69 65,
272 R Ramsay (Sco) 67 69 66 70, J Luiten (Ned) 69 68 70 65,
275 B Wiesberger (Aut) 66 66 71 72,
276 A Hartø (Den) 70 69 70 67, S Dyson (Eng) 71 68 69 68, R Fisher (Eng) 69 66 70 71, L Slattery (Eng) 70 68 67 71,
277 A Sullivan (Eng) 70 72 66 69, R Wattel (Fra) 73 68 67 69, J Morrison (Eng) 70 66 72 69,
278 M Korhonen (Fin) 70 67 71 70, S Kapur (Ind) 73 69 68 68, S Walker (Eng) 70 72 68 68, D Horsey (Eng) 71 69 72 66,
279 D Clarke (Nir) 72 70 67 70, A Quiros (Esp) 70 72 68 69, C Del Moral (Esp) 70 68 70 71, F Molinari (Ita) 66 72 69 72, D Fichardt (RSA) 68 69 71 71, K Broberg (Swe) 73 68 72 66,
280 T Lewis (Eng) 71 69 73 67, S Chowrasia (Ind) 69 72 66 73, S Kim (Kor) 70 72 69 69, T Fleetwood (Eng) 72 70 67 71, E Goya (Arg) 71 70 69 70, R Rock (Eng) 69 70 73 68, R Bland (Eng) 67 71 71 71, M Madsen (Den) 68 68 73 71, F Laporta (Ita) 68 72 69 71, R Gonzalez (Arg) 74 66 68 72, D Lipsky (USA) 69 67 73 71,
281 M Siem (Ger) 73 68 70 70, F Andersson Hed (Swe) 74 67 70 70, P Whiteford (Sco) 73 67 71 70, D Huizing (Ned) 69 71 69 72, J Hahn (USA) 67 73 76 65, D Drysdale (Sco) 73 69 71 68, M Warren (Sco) 69 70 69 73, W Ormsby (Aus) 74 68 70 69, C Lee (Sco) 70 72 68 71, J Heath (Eng) 73 68 70 70, M Bremner (RSA) 71 68 70 72,

Bruce Young
About The Author : Bruce Young

A multi-award winning golf journalist, Bruce's extensive knowledge of and background in the game of golf comes from several years caddying the tournament circuits of the world, marketing a successful golf course design company and as one of Australia's leading golf journalists and commentators.

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