(Picture: Grant Leversha)
Marcel Siem’s scoring rose and fell on the back nine of Gary Player Country Club on Thursday, but his hole-out from the fairway at the par-four 17th was superb and it put him into contention at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
“Not best golf shot at all for me in my career, but I tried to draw it in and stayed straight and hit the fringe, and yeah, I had a firm bounce to the left and yeah, it was really cool to hole that one,” he said.
The German bagged a Volvo V40 T5 R-Design with his eagle at the 17th, which he made with an eight-iron from 168 metres out. He also gained two shots and moved to four-under, a score he would maintain to the clubhouse, where he shared second.
“I wanted to buy a car for my mom after the good season I had this year and she needs a new car. I said I'm going to buy one, and I think it's a pretty cool car she can drive,” he said.
Siem was quite on the front stretch on Thursday until a birdie at the ninth got the ball rolling. He made further gains at the 10th and 11th, but then dropped a shot at the 12th after failing to up-and-down.
He didn’t slow down and picked up two shots with birdies at the 13th and 14th, but made the final drop of his round at the 15th to slide back to two-under.
The reigning BMW Masters champion then produced his fairway magic at the 17th to move within two shots of leader Ross Fisher, who set the pace with an opening round of 66.
“To go around here one bogey and seven birdies, 6‑under, I'll definitely take that and run,” said Fisher.
South Africa’s George Coetzee was the only player without a bogey on his card and carded 68 for his share of second place alongside Siem and France's Alexander Levy.
It was by no means and easy-scoring first day and 12 players of the 30 players were unable to break par in the sweltering heat of Sun City.
Tim Clark, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel all managed rounds of two-under-par 70 to join a six-way tie for fifth place. Also on two-under was Miguel Angel Jimenez, who was chosen to start the 2015 Race to Dubai by teeing off first on Thursday morning.
Defending champion Thomas Bjorn started with a birdie at the first, but it would be the first and last red number on his card. The Dane struggled round in 80, which he’ll look to make amends for on Friday.