*HIO 2023 winner Marcel Siem (Germany) with Dr Pawan Munjal, Chairman & CEO, Hero MotoCorp
Gurugram,27 February: Amid nerve wrecking tension Marcel Siem kept his cool at the crucial moments to pip his compatriot and overnight leader Yannik Paul by one shot to become the first German to win the Hero Indian open trophy as the home challenge collapsed on the last day of the tournament at the DLF Golf and Country Club here on Sunday.
While the final round was a thriller for the foreign challengers it turned out to be a nightmare for the Indians as the trio of Veer Ahlawat, Angad Cheema and Honey Baisoya, who were among the top ten till yesterday slipped out of this group to finish tied 13 and 20th.
Other Indians who had put up promising show in first two rounds also withered away to finish tied 25th and 32.
It turned out to be a battle royal between the two Germans, Siem and Yannik with six-time DP World Tour winner Joost Luiten Joost Luiten breathing down their neck throughout to make it a three-way fight till the 17th hole.
However, when it counted most, the home challenge faltered. Shubhankar Sharma and Veer Ahlawat were the best of the home golfers, sharing 13th place on four under par 284, 10 shots behind the winner, Marcel Siem of Germany (14-under 274).
The biggest sufferer though was Angad Cheema who saw a top-10 placing slip away with a horrendous quadruple bogey on the 18th hole that sent him plunging a further ten spots down the leader-board.
Local golfer Honey Baisoya shared 20th place with Cheema on two-under 286 and Yuvraj Singh Sandhu made up for a difficult third round of five over par 77 with a two under 70 that lifted him into a share of 25th place.
Though it was hard to overcome two consecutive over-par rounds on days two and three, Shubhankar Sharma was satisfied with his finish. “Today was really good, I played quite well and hung in there,” he said later.
“Played well on the back nine, which I'm quite happy about. Didn't really have my best on the back nine all week, but today was quite nice. So quite happy and it's a good way to finish the event. Today, I just got off to a good start, I made birdie on the first which was good and after that something clicked which I was really happy about.
The 42-year old Siem, played a steady game throughout the day. He overtook Paul on the 11th hole but the overnight leader rallied and drew parity on the 13th.
The title winner carded a birdie on the 15th and after that he held on to his slender lead till the end. He returned 4-under 68 last round for a tournament total of 14 under 274 (69,70,67,68)
This is Siem’s fifth DP World Tour win in his 502nd start and came eight years and 116 days after his fourth win, at the 2014 BMW Masters. The victory enabled him to move to 253 on the Official World Golf Ranking, up from 338th and fetched him prize money cheque of USD 3,40,000.
Paul Yannik who led by five shots after the second round, saw his lead reduced to one at the end of the penultimate round and today, he lost that lead and the bid for the title. He returned 2 under 70 last round for four round aggregates of 13 under 275 (65,69,71,70). Luiten shot 68 for a overall total of 12 under 276 (70,70,68,68)
'It was the toughest round I have ever played in my career” said Siem adding ‘This golf course does not allow any one make mistake. There is always a pressure on the players’
“Both Paul and Luiten were playing solid golf so it was tough challenge and I am happy to have won the title here.
Among the prominent Indian names, Gaganjeet Bhullar ended tied 44th at five-over 293 while Shiv Kapur and SSP Chawrasia were a further shot back in tied 48th.