Otto takes five-shot Madeira lead

South Africa’s Hennie Otto mastered buffeting gusts that interrupted the Madeira Islands Open second round for a time on Friday to surge into a five-stroke lead.

Otto lies 10-under-par 134 after a second five-under 67.

The 31-year-old, looking for a win to regain his tour card, pitched in for an eagle-two after nearly driving the 10th green with the strong wind at his back, to boost his advantage over his nearest rival, Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva.

Otto also produced an accomplished display with the putter to underline his claims for a maiden European Tour title.

”I’m five putts better than my average today. I had a lot of single putts and it makes all the difference,” he told a news conference.

”My goal coming here was top 10 to get into next week. A win takes care of the card but I’ll take it day by day.”

The tournament has already proved expensive for Otto, whose clubs and suitcase went missing in transit to Madeira.

”My clubs only arrived on Thursday and I’ve had to buy all new clothes that cost me a €1 000,” he added.

Otto was just about to start his round when play was called off for two-and-a-half hours in the morning because the strong wind was moving balls on the greens.

Durban-based Da Silva, like Otto, plays on the Sunshine Tour and is sharing a house with the tournament leader this week.

Da Silva produced a 68 to move to 139 and head Briton Alastair Forsyth (70) by a stroke.

Welshman Bradley Dredge’s hopes of victory to try to earn a US Masters place, fell with a 75 that included a triple-bogey at the short fourth as he slumped 11 strokes off the pace.

First round leader Sven Struver of Germany had to wait until late afternoon before beginning his round and bogeyed the first to drift five shots off the lead.

The second round will now spill over to Saturday. – Reuters

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