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April 6 2013

5:19 PM

Siem battles back into contention


Marcel Siem has played fantastic golf since a very tough start to his week. (Little/Getty Images)

By Tim Price, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

SAN ANTONIO -- Before the Valero Texas Open came to TPC San Antonio three years ago, the tournament was played at a course that bordered a roller coaster.

That thing is a long-gone part of the 90-plus-year history of the event, yet there’s someone making a roller coaster ride here this week. It’s Marcel Siem, the recognizable “Man With The Golden Bun.”

Consider the action: Siem looked to be in the field for The Masters when he impressively won the Trophy Hassan II in Morocco last week.

When Russell Henley shot a 68 in the final round in the Shell Houston Open a few hours after Siem‘s win, Siem was out by .003 points in the top 50 of the world rankings.

Siem took the sponsor’s exemption to come to San Antonio, needing a win to go to Augusta. But he quickly hit the depths once again by playing the first 16 holes in 5-over on Thursday. But he’s 9-under since then.

His opening 16 holes included four bogeys and two doubles. He’s got 12 birdies in the 38 holes since, with three bogeys and no doubles.

So, the 32-year-old Siem thinks it’s not out of the realm of possibilities to win and pull out a Masters invite. His 3-under round of 69 on Saturday has given him at least a miracle-seekers chance of winning. He’s 4-under with 18 to play.

“You never know,” Siem said. “If I got it to six or seven under there would be a great chance for tomorrow still. There’s still a chance. I like the course. I see a six or seven under here possible, even with the wind if you get it in the right positions.”

Siem would have the momentum if not for the final three holes at AT&T Oaks. He practically shanked his tee shot on the seventh (his 16th hole) and bogeyed. He birdied No. 8 but, with that shank still in his mind two holes later, he hit a shaky gap wedge to miss the green at No. 9 after a 330-yard drive to finish his round with bogey.

“(Without) those two hiccups on 7 and 9 today on the last three holes I would be very happy,” Siem said. “I hit a -- I don’t even want to say that word -- on 7. It was pretty close to the shaft there, first time in my life (to hit it like that) in a tournament.

“I had the gap wedge in (at No. 9) and backed off, thought about the shot at 7, then hit it on the toe. It’s weird. I’m full of confidence actually. I will be all right tomorrow.”

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