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Blond statement: Siem takes lead

Stony-faced with a leaning towards seriousness, is the stereotype that goes about the average German. Those who have watched Bernhard Langer and Martin Kaymer scorch fairways across the globe would agree that the label is a perfect fit.

other Updated: Feb 12, 2010 00:11 IST
Robin Bose

Stony-faced with a leaning towards seriousness, is the stereotype that goes about the average German. Those who have watched Bernhard Langer and Martin Kaymer scorch fairways across the globe would agree that the label is a perfect fit.

The case of Marcel Siem is different. Not only is he yet to touch the levels of his illustrious countrymen, the 29-year-old is perched at the other end of the spectrum in terms of temperament.

Known for sudden outbursts of emotion on the course, the blond-haired Siem, sporting a ponytail that goes well with the longish face, didn't require dramatics for a change to announce his arrival at the DLF Golf & Country Club.

A flawless round of eight-under 64 on the opening day of the Avantha Masters gave the world No. 247 a three-shot lead over Rahil Gangjee, who was tied for the third spot. Sandwiched in between was Chinese Taipei's Chan Yih-shin at seven-under 65.

Barring Gangjee, it was an ordinary outing for the other Indians.

Among notable names, Gaganjeet Bhullar and C. Muniyappa were T19 at three-under 69, while Jyoti Randhawa, Jeev Mikha Singh and Arjun Atwal were T57 with par.

Gangjee paid the dividend of “not thinking about the score and taking it one shot at a time”. Interspersing the six birdies equally, the stocky golfer could have been in sole possession of the third spot but a dropped shot on the 16th placed him amongst the seven sharing the rung.

The 64 had Siem, who finished 79th in the Race to Dubai last season, blinking in disbelief. “I cannot remember the last time I shot this score. I have been playing well for a couple of years but it hasn't come off for me for different reasons,” he said, looking down from a height of 6'2½''.

Displaying exemplary iron play and sound putting, the German was rewarded for the hard work put in earlier.

“I spent 10 hours on the range on Monday and Tuesday and that's something I've never done before,” said the man, who started wielding a putter at two, but embraced the sport at age six.

A flawless front-nine that was dotted with three birdies meant the momentum was with him and Siem pressed on after making the turn.

Opening with a birdie, he went on to add two more on the 6th and 8th. The best was reserved for the end as he rolled in a putt from six metres for eagle.

The credit for the standout performance wasn't entirely the German's and he was happy to share it with amateur Vani Kapoor. “The greens are a bit grainy, which can be difficult for Europeans, but Vani showed me the way (during the pro-am on Wednesday) with her aggressive play on the greens. I have to say she was my putting inspiration,” he said.