Siem survives tense finish at Hero Indian Open to end a long winless wait
Gurugram, February 26, 2023: Marcel Siem survived a tense 72nd hole to win the US$ 2 million Hero Indian Open 2023 and return to the winner’s circle more than eight years after he had won his last DP World Tour title.
His second shot on the final hole was headed for the water, but the rough on the edges of the lake stopped the ball. His wedge into the green gave him a 25-foot birdie putt, which he left short. As Paul missed a 12-footer for birdie, Siem holed the four-and-a-half feet par putt for the win.
Dr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman & CEO of Hero Motocorp, and Mr. Brijinder Singh, President of the Indian Golf Union, presented Siem with the Trophy.
The top Indians were Shubhankar Sharma (68), who had his best day of the week on Sunday, and Veer Ahlawat (73) at 4-under in tied 13th place.
The 42-year-old Siem, started the final day one behind fellow German Yannik Paul but caught up with him right at the turn with two birdies on the front nine as compared to one by Paul. Back-to-back birdies on 10th and 11th put him two ahead but there was a twist in tale on the 13th. Siem bogeyed and Paul birdied for a two-shot swing and suddenly, the two Germans vying to be the first from their country to win the Hero Indian Open, were tied at 13-under.
Over the last five holes, from the 14th to the 18th, the two Germans managed just one birdie and it came from Siem. He finished at 14-under to win by one over Paul (13-under).
As the tension escalated, Siem, who earlier in the week had likened the DLF Golf Course set-up as similar to a Major because of the challenge posed by the course, birdied the Par-5 15th while Paul was unable to find any birdies over the last five holes.
Paul needing a birdie to force a play-off missed from just over 12 feet and then Siem holed his par putt to become the first German player to hold aloft the trohpy of India’s national open.
Paul finished runner-up for the second time in as many weeks.
Joost Luiten, who had an eagle putt to get into a tie for second, managed only a birdie on 18th to finish the day with 68 and the tournament at 12-under for third place.
Siem, who spoke to his mother on Facetime minutes after the win, was candid in admitting, “I just made it a little bit too difficult and 18 was really tough out there. First of all, this golf course doesn’t allow you to make any mistakes so the pressure is on anyhow and then Yannik (Paul) and Joost (Luiten) were just pushing. I know Joost has gone for everything and I thought he’s going to make eagle on the last and then who knows what that happens. It could be a three-man playoff or whatever.”
Yannik was playing very solid as well. “I’m really, really tired. I think it was one of the toughest golf rounds I’ve ever played in my life. It’s exhausting.”
“Yeah, I’m back. I’m back in the winners’ circle now. My life coach has always said, ‘Dude. You’re so good. There’s just a few screws. We have to loosen up and screw them back together and just believe in yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself. Enjoy life and be nice to yourself. So, if I’m staying on this road, who knows what’s coming next.”
Japan’s Masters-bound Kazuki Higa was on fire at the start of the day with two birdies and an eagle in his first four holes. But he was unable to maintain that tempo and finished the day at 68 to be tied fourth with Spaniard Jorge Campillo (69) at 8-under.
Alexander Knappe and Thorbjorn Olesen, who had an up-and-down day, finished with 70 for tied sixth, while Simon Forsstrom (67) and Gavin Green (67) were tied eighth.
Angad Cheema, who seemed set for a top-10 finish came to grief on the Par-5 18th, where he had a quadruple bogey and dropped sharply to tied-20th alongside Honey Baisoya (73).
Siem’s fifth DP World Tour win came in his 502nd start and came after a gap of eight years and 116 days after his fourth win, at the 2014 BMW Masters. Siem did have a win in the period since 2014, but it came on the Challenge Tour at the 2021 Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge.