Marcel Siem of Germany claimed his fourth European Tour victory with a chip-in birdie at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff for the BMW Masters at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai.
Siem finished on a 72-hole total of 16-under-par to tie with Alexander Levy of France and England’s Ross Fisher. He then went on to win the playoff and the first event of the European Tour’s Final Series.
Levy, the recent winner of the Portugal Masters, looked to have the tournament wrapped up after opening rounds of 65, 66 and 63. But the Frenchman struggled in the windy conditions of the final day. He posted a disappointing 78. Siem also faltered on the back nine, and he bogeyed the last two holes to drop back into a tie with Fisher and Levy.
On the first extra hole, Siem holed a delicate chip shot from just off the green. When Levy and Fisher missed their birdie efforts, the title and a cheque for $1,166,660 went to Siem.
"I have never been in a position like this, to be honest, in such a big tournament,” said the German. “You try not to think about the prize money, but it's crazy prize money here.”
Here are four things we learned at the BMW Masters:
1. With the victory, Marcel Siem climbed 49 places on the Race to Dubai. He now sits in fourth spot and is only 160,000 points behind Jamie Donaldson in second. The Welshman moved up two spots thanks to his tied fourth place finish in Shanghai. With 1,660,600 points going to the champion, Siem’s victory displayed the impact of a win in one of the four Final Series events on the European Tour. If he can win again next week, in the HSBC Champions, he’ll get to within striking distance of current Race to Dubai leader Rory McIlroy.
2. Marcel Siem is known on the European Tour for letting his emotions get the better of him. Perhaps this victory could be a turning point for the talented German. In testing conditions, he kept his composure to close out the win. Despite finishing regulation play with two straight bogeys, he came out in the playoff with great determination. The fact he had the flag removed for his chip on the first extra hole signalled his intent, and he duly delivered.
3. Alexander Levy of France is not infallible. He won the rain-shortened Portugal Masters with a 36-hole score of 18-under-par. He was then 22-under par for the first three rounds at Lake Malaren: 40-under-par for five rounds. He was making the game look so easy that even he couldn’t believe it; laughing like the Bishop in Caddyshack as he struck another long iron to within feet of the pin. But reality struck on the back nine on Sunday. He played the last six holes in five-over-par to come back in 40. All good things must come to an end.
4. Ross Fisher’s closing round of 67 was the best of the day. It was an excellent performance, given there were only four scores in the 60s posted all of Sunday. The wind made the 7,600-yard course at Lake Malaren into a true monster. Eight men failed to break 80 and Miguel Angel Jimenez limped in with an 88. The veteran Spaniard made a 13 at the par-4 9th!