Hassan II Trophy: Marcel Siem boosts Masters hopes with fast start in Morocco
Germany's Marcel Siem surged into a first-round lead at the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco with an eight-under-par 64.
Last Updated: 29/03/13 8:33am
A strong result would give the world number 72 a chance of breaking into the top 50 in the world who are guaranteed a place in The Masters. And he's on target after a superb eagle-birdie finish gave the 32-year-old a three-shot lead at the Agadir resort on day one.
Siem, seeking to add to his two PGA European Tour wins, bogeyed his second hole but responded with an eagle and two birdies and picked up further shots at the 10th and 11th before chipping in at the last two holes.
He said: "Sometimes you need a bit of luck in this game and thankfully today was one of those days where it went my way.
"I didn't know I still had a chance for the Masters but now we know there are four or five of us in the field here who still might be able to get to the Masters if we win here.
"It is a nice incentive but I came here first and foremost to play this tournament and play this golf course. The Masters would be pretty special but I just have to concentrate on what I am doing in this tournament."
Spaniard Alvaro Velasco was Siem's closest challenger, although he failed to make the most of a strong start.
Teeing off at the 10th, Velasco birdied his first three holes but could only pick up two more shots for a five-under 67.
England's David Horsey, the 2011 champion, was four under alongside compatriots Graeme Storm and Simon Wakefield. Another Englishman, Gary Lockerbie, and Scot Craig Lee were three under, with France's Gregory Havret and Dutchman Joost Luiten a further shot behind.
The other players playing for Augusta invites struggled on a windswept day, with Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Scotland's Richie Ramsay two over par after rounds of 74. Ramsay's compatriots Stephen Gallacher and Scott Jamieson were even further off the pace at three over and five over respectively.
But nobody could match the struggles of Czech player Jakub Svoboda, who was well on course for a European Tour record score when he retired after hitting 21 over par from just six holes.