Mauritius, November 29: Scott Hend of Australia hopes to land his first title in 2017 at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open as he aims to become the first player to win back-to-back Asian Tour Order of Merit crowns.
Hend has enjoyed an impressive record where he has won every year since 2012. He has not won in 2017 yet, but hopes to maintain his winning streak when the event gets underway at the Heritage Golf Club on Thursday.
The Australian is ranked third on the Order of Merit and it will be an exciting week as Gavin Green of Malaysia, the current Merit leader, and S.S.P. Chawrasia of India, ranked fourth, will feature in the €1million (approximately US$1.07 million) event sanctioned by the Asian Tour, Sunshine Tour and European Tour.
Major champions Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa will also be in the elite field which includes Shiv Kapur of India, Ajeetesh Sandhu and Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand.
Hend will return to the Heritage Golf Club with good memories where he finished tied fifth in the event in 2015 and tied 12th last year on a different golf course.
Sandhu, who won his first Asian Tour title in October, hopes to make amends this week after being forced to withdraw from the Hong Kong Open last week due to visa complications. The Indian will be making his first appearance in the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
It will be an important week for Jazz, who earned his European Tour card at Qualifying School recently where he had to eagle the last hole to claim the final card. He hopes to get off to a fast start at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open which is the second event on the European Tour’s 2017/2018 season.
Did you know?
- Hend is a nine-time Asian Tour winner. He won eight Asian Tour titles since 2012 and was crowned the Asian Tour number one in 2016.
- He trails Green by US$133,307 on the Merit ranking and has a chance to stamp his mark on the Order of Merit race with a solid result or a victory this week which comes with a cool purse of US$185,377. No player has ever won back-to-back Order of Merit crowns.
- Hend’s best finish this year was second place at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland where he lost in a play-off.
- He will be playing in his 10th straight week at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.
- Hend is the most successful international player on the Asian Tour where he has plied his trade since 2007. He played on the PGA Tour in 2004 and 2005 before a serious hand injury curtailed his career in the United States.
- Sandhu won the Yeangder Tournament Players Championship (TPC) in Chinese Taipei in October. It was his first victory on the Asian Tour.
- The lanky Indian missed the Hong Kong Open last week as his visa was not approved in time. The Hong Kong Open was also the final week for players to qualify for Team Asia and Sandhu was disappointed not to have the chance to impress Arjun Atwal, the captain for Team Asia.
- Sandhu enjoyed a stellar amateur career and trained in the David Leadbetter Golf Academy in the United States from 2005 to 2007.
- Jazz has shown tremendous progress on the Asian Tour in 2017. He entered the year without a Tour card and had to rely on playing rights on the Asian Development Tour (ADT), which is the secondary circuit to the Asian Tour.
- He turned his fortunes around when he won the Basundhara Bangladesh Open on the Asian Tour in February and later earned his European Tour card. He says that he carries his ADT and Asian Tour badge with him to every tournament to remind himself of the struggles he has been through.
“Gavin Green keeps giving me these opportunities. I’ve been playing quite averagely and he could have shut the door in a few events. S.S.P. Chawrasia could have shut the door in Hong Kong and now it is right there for a few of us to try and win it.” – Scott Hend
Scott Hend of (Aus)
It is a great golf course, area and the hotel is awesome. I flew in yesterday (Tuesday), played the pro-am and won it. That’s a good start to the week. The golf course is fantastic. Here if you hit it long and straight off the tees you got a chance at making birdies.
(How do you rate your 2017 season so far) Out of 10, maybe a six. I’ve had a bit of a struggle this year since I lost in Crans two and a half months ago. It has been very frustrating. I rate my year based on wins and I’ve been fortunate enough to win every year in the last few years. I’ve got two events left so I’m striving to do that.
(On the Order of Merit) Gavin (Green) keeps giving me these opportunities. I’ve been playing quite averagely and he could have shut the door in a few events. S.S.P. (Chawrasia) could have shut the door in Hong Kong and now it is right there for a few of us to try and win it.
The guy that is leading the Order of Merit isn’t really stamping his authority so it is nice to have the opportunity to grab the trophy with both hands. If one of us close to Gavin can pop a win this week, it will all come down to Jakarta.
I’m third on the money list and this event is great because it counts towards the start of the European Tour season and it counts to the end of the Asian Tour season. In both aspects, this event is quite important.
I’ve had a few issues with my driver and putter. In general I’ve had issues with my golf clubs. It is something out of my control. Hopefully we’ve worked out the problems. At the start of the year it was horrendous for me with no equipment. I got it under control now so hopefully it holds up.
I’m trending the right way. This is my 10th week in a row and I think I’ve played the weekend eight times. So it is not like I’m playing bad. I’m just not producing the high standard of golf which I would like to produce.
Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind)
It is absolutely a phenomenal place to be in. The course and weather is really nice. As soon as I knew I wasn’t able to get into Hong Kong, my mind was already focussed on this week.
It is a tough and tricky golf course. If the wind picks up, it will be a huge test. If I play to my strengths I will do well this week. When you are playing well, your frame of mind is different and you want to keep to the same process.
I had an issue with my visa and I wasn’t able to get it sorted in time. These things happen, it is part of our profession and you have to take it in your stride. I knew the EurAsia Cup selection was last week but what can you do about it? I just have to wait two years and get myself on the team. It was disappointing but it is over now.
The 2017 season has been good. I’ve achieved a lot of my goals but every week is a new week and you need to reset your goals. That’s exactly what I’m going to do. You always want to finish the season well despite the success you’ve enjoyed. With the partnership with the European Tour, there’s so much to play for on the Asian Tour and every week counts.
Jazz Janewattananond (Tha)
It is important for me but it is also a good week to rest my mind because this place is so beautiful. I’m going to come here and enjoy playing the course. I like this course and we played here before. This course suits my style more.
The 2017 season has been a good year for me. I started with an Asian Development Tour (ADT) card, Asian Tour and European Tour card so it has been great. I also won so I can’t ask for anything more.
About Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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