Johannesburg, South Africa
Had Marcel Siem been able to birdie No. 18 the first time around, he could have saved himself a lot of time.
Siem made par on the final hole of regulation Jan. 25 at the Dunhill Championship, but he made up for it by making birdie on the 18th three consecutive times in a playoff to win.
The 23-year-old German made three 4s in a row to edge France’s Raphael Jacquelin and Gregory Havret.
“Obviously I am delighted to win, it is unbelievable,” Siem said. “I knew it was the best chance I had to win my first tournament being in sudden death, and I just tried to be positive over every shot.”
Siem is the fifth consecutive first-time winner at Dunhill, following Anthony Wall, Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Mark Foster, who won a six-man playoff last year.
Siem shot a 6-under-par 66 in the final round and finished tied with Jacquelin (67) and Havret (67) at 22-under 266 at Houghton Golf Club.
Siem missed a 6-foot putt for eagle on the first playoff hole and a 15-foot eagle try on the second.
“I’ll be honest, my hands were shaking on that first putt,” said Siem, who chewed gum on the golf course for the first time in order to help calm his nerves.
Siem, who won 223,159 euros (approximately $280,821) in 26 events last season, pocketed 114,699 euros (approximately $144,332) for Sunday’s victory. He became the second German player to win the Dunhill, following Sven Struver in 1996.
“I have 15 friends sitting in my home in Germany right now watching the television and I am sure they will all be going crazy with champagne,” he said. “It would be nice to be there with them but I’m sure I will get the chance soon.”
Siem’s followers probably thought they had reason to celebrate on the first playoff hole after he stuck a 4-iron to 6 feet. But his eagle putt drifted just past the edge and Havret and Jacquelin each made birdie. Havret was eliminated on the second playoff hole when he made par, and Siem ended the tournament on the next hole.
“I had a lot of chances to win but I couldn’t do it,” said Jacquelin, who made par on the third playoff hole. “It was another good week for me but I am very disappointed at the end.”
– Staff and wire reports