Siem Comes Good With Big Win
Marcel Siem's fourth European Tour victory at the recently concluded BMW Masters undoubtedly goes down as his most memorable to date.
Ask any sportsman or woman and they'll tell you the same thing - the sweetest victories are the ones that were the hardest to come by.
And Siem, the 34-year-old German who has long played second fiddle to his more decorated countryman Martin Kaymer, certainly had to work hard for his victory at a blustery Lake Malaren this past Sunday.
Trailing Alexander Martin Levy by four shots heading into the final round, Siem may have benefited from the Frenchman's capitulation over the last 18 holes, but that didn't make his own job all that much easier. Levy closed with a disastrous 78 in the end, but he was hardly the only man struggling.
A relentless wind made things exceedingly difficult for all the players on the monster Lake Malaren lay-out, and Siem himself made all of five bogeys after the turn - including dropped shots at both the 17th and 18th.
Thankfully, the gains he had made earlier in his round meant he escaped with a very respectable 73.
He'd done enough to hang on by the skin of his teeth and force himself into a play-off with Levy and England's Ross Fisher, and then won the shoot-out courtesy of a chip-in for birdie on the 18th green, easy as you like.
"The course was a real monster, and I'm super pleased," Siem said. "Still can't believe it. I'm over the moon."
Siem had convinced himself that he would have to hole the chip just to stay alive in the play-off. As it turned out, it proved good enough to see him crowned champion.
"I thought just to stay in the playoff, I have to hole it," he said. "I was expecting one of the guys to hole the putt. It's just fantastic. A chip-in is always cool, but to have it in a play-off is even cooler."
Siem turned professional in 2000 and picked up his first professional victory four years later at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
That triumph did not really kickstart his career, however, and it would take eight more years and 226 more events before he could add a second trophy to the cabinet at the 2012 Open de France.
Since that victory, Siem has enjoyed a new level of consistency. He was able to pick up another title the following year at the Trophee Hassan II, and he has now claimed his third victory in as many years - and a significant one at that.
The play-off win rocketed him a full 82 places up the world rankings, from 152nd to 70th, and shot him up to fourth in the Race to Dubai. It also secured him a spot in the WGC-HSBC Champions field.
"Wow. Fourth?" said Siem when told what his victory had meant.
"Wow. I didn't even look at that. That's fantastic. I really haven't thought about that. Sounds great, No 4 in Europe."
Siem was expecting a week off after the BMW Masters, and was all set for a holiday in Thailand with his wife. But the victory has changed all that.
"The problem I have now is that my wife flew to Thailand because I wanted to have a little holiday with her there, so now I have to get her to China.
"But I think she will be still happy when she hears the reason why it's changed," he joked, referring to the huge €1 166 000 first prize he had just pocketed.