Siem claims victory in China play-off

Siem claims victory in China play-off

Germany’s Marcel Siem claimed his fourth European Tour title in dramatic fashion after a three-man play-off for the BMW Masters in Shanghai on Sunday.

Siem missed from six feet on the 72nd hole with the chance to win in regulation, but made amends by chipping in for a birdie when the players returned to the 18th for the first hole of sudden death.

Ross Fisher and Alexander Levy both had birdie chances to keep their hopes alive but were unable to convert, leaving Siem to cancel a planned holiday in Thailand to take up his place in the HSBC Champions event across the city on Thursday.

Levy had looked on course for his third win of the season at Lake Malaren, rounds of 65, 66 and 63 giving the 24-year-old Frenchman a four-shot lead and taking him to a collective 40 under par for his last five stroke play rounds following his recent win in the Portugal Masters.

However, with a strong wind making scoring conditions difficult, Levy could only manage a closing 78 to finish alongside playing partner Siem, who shot 73, and England’s Fisher on 16 under par.

Fisher had set the clubhouse target after a superb 67 – wiping out an 11-shot deficit to Levy that would have set a European Tour record if he had gone on to win – and then saw Levy and Siem both bogey the 18th.

The third member of the final group, Ryder Cup star Jamie Donaldson, had a birdie chance on the last to get into the play-off but left it inches short, while Gleneagles team-mate Justin Rose also finished 15 under after a bogey on the same hole in a closing round of 72.

“I got off to a nice start with a birdie on the first and I knew with the windy conditions that it might be a little better chance to win the tournament,” said Siem, who also birdied the seventh and eighth to wipe out Levy’s lead by the turn.

“Alex, unfortunately, didn’t have his best day and I played very solid the front nine. And then the back nine were really, really tough.

“The golf course was the total opposite to the first three days. The course was a real monster and I’m super pleased, still can’t believe it. I’m over the moon.

“In the play-off, I thought I actually have to hole it just to stay in. I was expecting one of the guys to hole their putt actually. It’s just fantastic. A chip-in is always cool, but to have it in a play-off is even cooler.

“I have never been in a position like this, to be honest, in such a big tournament. You try not to think about the prize money, but it’s crazy prize money here (1.6million euros for first).

“I think the key today was not to have a double bogey or triple bogey somewhere and I managed to do that.

“People who know me know that finishing bogey, bogey, I don’t like that and my emotions could go a little crazy sometimes. But I stayed really, really calm and I’m proud of that. I’m getting older, two kids now, so maybe that’s the reason why.”

Levy, who was two shots ahead of Siem before pulling his drive into the water on the 13th to run up a double-bogey seven, said: “I feel I didn’t play that bad. I make a few mistakes, but I didn’t miss a lot of shots.

“Marcel deserved to win today because he played fantastic in the wind. Today was a special day with the wind and it was not very easy for me. I’ve got to work on that and be more strong during the difficult weather like that.”

Fisher’s 67 was the best score of the day and one of only four in the 60s, while Miguel Angel Jimenez took 13 on the ninth in a round of 88 after finding the water four times.

“Going out today 11 behind you never expect to have a chance,” Fisher said. “I’m thinking, just go out there and shoot a good score. If it gets me a top-10, that would be great, and obviously it was playing tough and I think I had the best round of the day by quite some margin.

“I can only walk away from here very delighted and pleased with the way I played.”

Speaking about his birdie putt on the 18th, Donaldson said: “I had a perfect line and just left it short in the middle, which is dreadful. There was a tournament to be won and I just didn’t do enough to do that.”

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