Chasing his third Tour title but first outside of Asia, Hend is part of a six-way tie for first at the BMW International where he signed for a 1-over 73 but maintained a share of top spot.
“I'm very fortunate to be where I am,” Hend said after a round that included three bogeys and a double against four birdies.
“Hopefully today was my bad day and onwards and upwards tomorrow.”
A plugged lie in a bunker at the opening hole saw the long hitting veteran open with a bogey which set the tone for the day.
Back to back birdies at the third and fourth were offset by two more dropped shots to turn 1-over then disaster struck at the par-5 13th with a double.
“I don't think you can be super aggressive out there because you can make a three but you can also make a six,” Hend noted of the tricky Golf Club Git Laerchenhof layout.
“So you've still got to stay within your game plan and hopefully roll a few putts in. We'll see who rolls the most putts in tomorrow.”
That was interesting to say the least... needed a sickle today to get through that rough.... amazed to still be tied at the top and with a chance. @EuropeanTour #BMWInternationalOpen #expectationszero #wheatfarming #shoesfullofseeds— Scott Hend (@hendygolf) June 23, 2018
Among those sharing the lead with Hend are local favourites Martin Kaymer and Maximillian Kiefer who both signed for 1-under rounds of 71.
Kaymer, in particular, will draw huge crowds Sunday, the two-time major champion hunting a first European Tour title since the Ab Dhabi Championship in 2011 and first tirle anywhere since claiming the 2014 US Open.
“It's always nice to be in contention, especially for me because it's been a while,” Kaymer told the European Tour website after his round.
“But the last few weeks I've played very well. In Italy I had a good chance but I didn't really perform on the moving day.
“Today I didn't need to perform as good as I thought. On top of that, winning in your own country speaks for itself.”
Only three Australians made the cut with Wade Ormsby next best behind Hend at 3-under and in a share of ninth.
Hit the ball really well today, shot +5 Short game wasn’t there, felt like every bounce was a bad one and the putts didn’t want to go to their home. Super disappointing but have to take the positives from it and go super low tomorrow #oneofthosedays #BMWInternationalOpen— Nick Cullen (@nickcullengolf) June 23, 2018
Nick Cullen, who played with Kaymer on day three and was just two off the pace to start the round, battled to a 5-over 77 to tumble all the way to T35.
With only limited status on the Tour this year Cullen needs to make the most of his opportunities and was particularly disappointed with his Saturday play.
However, there is still much to play for Sunday as he tries to amass as many Race to Dubai points as possible and despite his difficulties on day three his game is clearly in good shape.
MATT BALLARD - MARRYING READ AND SPEED ON PUTTS:
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