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Golf: Forsyth ends poor run with fine recovery and play-off joy.

Byline: By Gary Love in Madeira

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 here yesterday.

The 32-year-old from Glasgow, who did not manage 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.

Forsyth said: "I went into the year feeling pretty good about my game but I made a really poor start with all the missed cuts.

"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."

Otto, seeking his first European title - he was not even the holder of a full Tour card entering the tournament - followed three opening rounds of 67 with only a level-par 72.

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 pounds 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 he and Otto birdied the 386-yard 18th to tie on 15-under-par 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 trophy. 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 finish on the circuit earned him pounds 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 win the Andalucian Open 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 had had 23 top-10 finishes since his first win but this was the perfect manner in which 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 penny.

Forsyth and Otto clashed in a play-off in the 1996 South African amateur stroke play championship, going nine extra holes before the Scot won. 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.

Graeme Storm had little time to celebrate the round of his life before heading back on to the course for the final round at the CA Championship yesterday, writes Andrew Both in Miami.

Hartlepool's Storm had a nine-under-par 63 when the weather-delayed third round was completed yesterday morning on the waterlogged Blue Monster course at Doral Resort.

He came home in 29 strokes, courtesy of an eagle and five birdies, to be part of a five-way tie for second - four strokes behind Australian leader Geoff Ogilvy, who jumped clear with a 68, posting a 16-under 200 total at the World Golf Championships event.

Tiger Woods' seven-tournament winning streak was in serious jeopardy, after he shot a lame 72 to fall five strokes off the pace. Woods, who struggled with his putter, had only one birdie and the worst round among the top 30 players. Astonishingly, he did not birdie any of the four par-five holes.

Storm's ball was in a fairway bunker at the par-four 16th when play was halted by bad weather on Saturday - so he was able to place the ball for the resumption, nipping a nice bunker shot to seven feet for birdie.

He closed in style with another birdie at the last, a nice drive avoiding the water, before hitting a raking four-iron that covered the pin - settling 10 feet away.

He shared second place with Australian Adam Scott, Fiji's Vijay Singh, South African Retief Goosen and American Jim Furyk while Woods was tied for seventh with Dane Anders Hansen.

Ogilvy, meanwhile, resumed yesterday with seven holes left and the 2006 United States Open champion made the most of his morning, picking up two birdies to jump clear of the field in soggy conditions.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 24, 2008
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