FANTASTIC though Marcel Siem’s win at the BMW Masters in China was, I’m still finding it hard to understand how the German won in Shanghai – or, to be more precise, how Alexander Levy lost.
Siem beat the Frenchman and England’s Ross Fisher in a three-man play-off on Sunday, but only after Levy had squandered a very strong winning position in quite extraordinary fashion.
Levy went into the first leg of the European Tour’s season-ending Final Series in fine form, having won his last stroke-play event, the weather-affected Portugal Masters just two weeks earlier.
He played three superb rounds at Lake Malaren to take a four-shot lead into the final day – and that’s where it all went wrong. Levy carded six bogeys and a double-bogey in a nightmare 78 which included five dropped shots in his last six holes.
HARD TO COMPREHEND
That was still enough to get him into a play-off, but Siem, who shot a one-over-par 73, brilliantly snatched the title at the first play-off hole with an incredible birdie chip.
It’s hard to comprehend how Levy could have been playing so well and yet collapse like that. On the one hand he still played very well indeed for most of the week, but that finish will haunt him and I fear for his state of mind next time he gets in contention for a win.
For Siem, meanwhile, it’s an enormous boost. He can be inconsistent, but when he is good he is incredible. That £1.3m payday was his biggest by some distance and lifted up to fourth in the Race to Dubai standings as we prepare for the second leg of the four-event season finale.
Fisher deserves praise too. His 67 was one of only four sub-70 last rounds and, had he won the play-off, he would set a new record for biggest final-day comeback of 11 strokes, beating a mark equalled by Paul Lawrie overhauling Jean Van de Velde at the 1999 Open.
On the PGA Tour, Ryan Moore underlined the importance of horses for courses by successfully defending his CIMB Classic title in Malaysia. For similar reasons, it might just be worth backing Sergio Garcia, who finished tied for second there, this week.
The European Tour remains in Shanghai but switches to Sheshan for the WGC-Champions, a tournament Garcia won at the same venue in 2008. There is a host of big names competiing – including Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Jamie Donaldson and Graeme McDowell, though not world No1 Rory McIlroy – but the Spaniard is in form and could be a smart each-way bet.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam