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Scott Hend claims 10th Asian Tour title

Hend continues his love affair with golf in Asia (Photo: Getty Images)
Scott Hend has today won his 3rd European Tour and his 10th Asian Tour title with a playoff victory over Spain’s Nacho Elvira at the Maybank Championship but the hard-fought victory was not without considerable drama.

Playing the 72nd hole with a one-shot lead, Hend found the fairway bunker from the tee and was forced to lay up while his nearest challenger Elvira, although not able to reach the green with his second at the par 5, finished 50 yards from the hole.

Hend played his 3rd shot 30 feet left of the flag and so the door was open for Elvira to pitch close and convert for birdie to potentially force a playoff.

With a storm developing and rain beginning to fall heavily, Elvira prepared to play his third only to be distracted as he started his downswing by a large clap of thunder. He flinched and the shot finished 30 feet short of the hole and so the advantage he had gained with an accurate tee shot had gone.

It was at that very point that officials called a halt to play due the intensifying electrical storm and with just the final group on the last green the outcome of the event would be delayed.  

When play resumed, and to his credit, however, Elvira holed his putt to join Hend in the lead and when the Australian missed it was off to a playoff which Hend would win with a birdie from the greenside bunker at the par 5 18th. He had been a little fortunate however deflecting off trees with his first and second shots en-route to the bunker.

The final day had been a battle between Hend and Elvira for much of the day Hend taking the lead with an outward nine of 31 and appearing in control until the two late birdies from third-round leader, Elvira.

“I had to get off to a fast start as I was three shots behind," said the winner. "That's all there was to it. I was fortunate enough to turn in five under and on the back nine I shot event par. Can't ask for much more on a Sunday when the golf course is playing quite tricky.

“I'm a grinder and a fighter. So is my caddie Tony. We both have the same mental attitude. It doesn't matter how old we are, we work hard at what we do. Just takes a bit of luck to win. Obviously I had a bit of luck on the play-off hole. If you don't have any luck you won't win. 

“What a putt by Nacho. If I was to go out there and hit that putt you would say you would hole it one in ten times. The spirit we played in today was great too. He's such a nice guy. We were both egging each other on to play well. That's the way we want to play golf."

For Hend, whose form in 2018 had been disrupted by an injury issue this was a continuation of what has been a most lucrative career since abandoning his PGA Tour aspirations after playing there on occasions during the mid 2000’s.

The victory was worth 438,000 euros or A$700,000 to Hend, the biggest cheque of his career

Elvira was looking for his first European Tour title and narrowly missed but with this effort and a runner-up finish in Qatar at his last start the breakthrough win cannot be far away.

Terry Pilkadaris and Lucas Herbert were the next best of the Australians when they tied for 25th.


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