Siem chips in to win BMW Masters playoff

By Doug FergusonNovember 2, 2014, 9:09 am

SHANGHAI – Marcel Siem took the lead for the first time on the 16th hole Sunday and figured two pars would be enough for him to win the BMW Masters.

A relentless wind at Lake Malaren turned the final round into a wild ride for just about everybody, and not even Siem was immune. The German finished the final round with two bogeys instead of two pars. And then he won a three-man playoff over Alexander Levy of France and Ross Fisher of England by chipping in for birdie from the collar of the 18th green.

''The course was a real monster, and I'm super pleased,'' Siem said. ''Still can't believe it. I'm over the moon.''

Siem felt more pressure over an 8-foot par putt on the 18th to win in regulation. Facing the tougher situation - his shot with a 5-iron came up just short and hung in the collar - he felt he had nothing to lose and wound up winning.

''I thought just to stay in the playoff, I have to hole it,'' said Siem, who closed with a 1-over 73. ''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 playoff is even cooler.''

Levy had a four-shot lead to start the final round. He had to scramble for bogey on the 18th hole for a 78 to join the playoff. Fisher had a chance for the biggest comeback in European Tour history. He was 11 shots behind going into the last round, closed with a 67 and was the first to post at 16-under 272.

Levy and Fisher both had birdie putts in the playoff on No. 18, the toughest hole at Lake Malaren. After watching Siem chip in for birdie, both missed their putts.

The fourth victory of Siem's career sends him across town to the World Golf Championship next week. The timing could have been better. Siem was expecting a week off, so his wife flew to Thailand to join him for a holiday. Trophy in hand, he was trying to arrange a visa to get her to Shanghai for the next tournament.

''Would have been the first time in five years on a holiday on our own,'' he said. ''But I think she will be still happy not to do that.''

What had been an easy week for scoring on a soft, benign golf course turned into a test of survival in the 25 mph wind.



Levy stopped hitting short irons at the flag, and when he closed out the front nine with back-to-back bogeys, his four-shot lead was gone. He built it back to two shots when Siem made a pair of sloppy bogeys, but then the Frenchman drove into the water on the par-5 13th and made double bogey. Levy then missed two short putts - for par on the 14th and birdie on the 15th - that would have allowed him to regain the lead.

He was fortunate just to get into the playoff. Levy's approach on the 18th in regulation went left toward the water, crossed the hazard line and stopped a foot short from a splash. He chipped over the green and had to make a 5-foot bogey putt to keep playing.

''He deserved to win today because he played fantastic in the wind,'' Levy said. ''It's nice for him. And I'm not very disappointed because I played three days of amazing golf and I think I need to keep that in my mind.''

Fisher had the low score Sunday, making six birdies against only one bogey for his 67. Only three other players broke 70, while eight players were in the 80s. That included Miguel Angel Jimenez, who hit four shots into the water on No. 9 and took a 13. He shot an 88.

''You never expect to have a chance,'' Fisher said, referring to his 11-shot deficit. ''I'm thinking, 'Just go out there and shoot a good score. If it gets me a top 10, that would be great.'''

It almost was better that that. Paul Lawrie (1999 British Open) and Jamie Spence (1992 European Masters) share the European Tour record by rallying from 10 shots behind in the final round.

Jamie Donaldson of Wales, who won the clinching match for Europe in the Ryder Cup, put two balls into the water in the round and closed with a 75. Donaldson had a chance to get into the playoff with an 18-foot birdie putt on the last hole. He left it short.

''Concentrated so hard on the line and don't hit the putt. But there you go - that's golf,'' Donaldson said.

Justin Rose also could have made the playoff, except that he put his approach into the bunker left of the 18th green, blasted out to 18 feet and narrowly missed his par putt. Rose closed with a 72.

''Playing from 13 onwards, it was hang on for dear life,'' Rose said.

The BMW Masters is the first of four tournaments in ''The Final Series'' that wrap up the European Tour season. Siem moves all the way up to No. 4 in the Race to Dubai.

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm