Siem clinging to slender advantage

3/31/2013 3:51:00 PM
Marcel Siem   (Getty Images)
Marcel Siem (Getty Images)
Marcel Siem turned one in front of Finland’s Mikko Ilonen as the final round of the Trophée Hassan II turned into a two-horse race.

The German, needing a win to keep his hopes of climbing into the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 50 and thus claim a Masters Tournament place alive, started the day four clear but bogeyed the first and was caught when Ilonen had a hat-trick of gains from the second.

Siem responded with birdies at the fifth and seventh, but Ilonen – who recorded both his European Tour victories back in 2007 – matched the latter to remain within touching distance.

Open de France winner Siem started the home stretch one ahead on 16 under as a result, with Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and England’s 2011 David Horsey five off the pace on 11 under in a tie for third.

The gap was back to two when Ilonen bogeyed the long tenth - Siem had his own problems around the green there but escaped with a par - and the tournament looked to have turned decisively in the German’s favour when he birdied the 11th from ten feet as Ilonen found sand from the tee at the short 12th, could only splash out into rough, chipped four feet past and missed the return putt.

The subsequent double bogey five sent Ilonen back to 12 under and tied for second with Horsey, while Siem seemed Augusta-bound with a five shot lead and only six to play.