Otto raring to go at Tshwane Open after break for quality time with family

Hennie Otto
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Hennie Otto is gunning for his third European Tour title when the inaugural Tshwane Open tees off on Thursday.
PA Sport

Series: European Tour

Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | 3:14 p.m.

CENTURION, South Africa -- A little fresh air and some quality time with his family was all two-time European Tour champion Hennie Otto needed to get the competitive juices flowing again.

Coming off a tie for third at the Dimension Data Pro-Am on Sunday, the feisty Boksburg professional is fired up to chase down a third European Tour title when the inaugural Tshwane Open tees off at The Els Club, Copperleaf on Thursday.

"I had a miserable start to my 2013 season with three missed cuts on the trot during the Desert Swing and after the top-20 at the Joburg Open, I pulled out of the Africa Open and took some time out with the family to regroup," Otto explained. "We went to our farm near Magersfontein and just chilled. By the time the Di-Data swung around, I felt ready to fire."

The 36-year-old Anahita Mauritius golfer dominated the leaderboard in his title defense and recovered superbly after a dismal front nine in the final round to finish three strokes off the pace from winner, Jaco van Zyl.

"It was a great week, though, considering the break I took," Otto said. "It has really fired me up for this week and I want to get in there early and challenge."

Otto's mantle is loaded with silverware from 12 Sunshine Tour victories, the 2008 Italian Open and the prestigious South African Open Championship trophy, which he won with a standout performance at Serengeti in 2011. But he can definitely clear space for more.

"After last week, I'm really excited to get going at Copperleaf," he said. "It's been a while since I've had a podium finish and right now I feel my game could support a strong challenge.

"I've never played the course before, so I'll have my first look at it during the pro-am, but I just love playing Ernie Els-designed courses, because they suit my eye," he explained. "Can't wait to get going."

With a two-year exemption on the cards, as well as a healthy whack of world golf rankings points, a victory will certainly boost Otto's current Sunshine Tour and European Tour rankings.

"By Sunday I hope to break into the top 100 in the Race to Dubai and get inside the top 10 of the Sunshine Tour's rankings. I also want inside the top five on the Investec Cup rankings before the championship, so there is a lot to play for this week."