Hend defies gusty winds to lead

Thu 03 Oct 2013

Hend defies gusty winds to lead

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Tamsui, Chinese Taipei, October 3: Australia’s Scott Hend took advantage of the blustery conditions by posting a three-under-par 69 to take the first round lead at the US$600,000 Mercuries Taiwan Masters on Thursday.
Sam Cyr of the United States and Finland’s Kalle Samooja, who were among the early pace setters in the morning, took a share of second place with their matching 70s alongside Australian rookie David Lutterus at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club.
Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng, a seven-time Asian Tour winner, took a share of fifth place with Australia’s Adam Groom on 71 while reigning merit champion Thaworn Wiratchant signed for a 72 to be bunched with 10 other players on equal seven at the richest Asian Tour event to be staged in Chinese Taipei this season.
While the gusty winds may have posed stiff challenges to many of the players at the Taiwan Golf and Country Club, Hend showed he was equal to the task with another assured performance.
“I prefer to play under these conditions as it makes me more competitive. I don’t come here all the time but when I do, I just have to give my best,” said Hend, who is ranked third on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
Known for his aggressive style of play, the 40-year-old Australian is one of the most successful international players on the Asian Tour.
He has never finished outside the top-30 on the Order of Merit since 2007 and was crowned the longest hitter on the Asian Tour in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
“The Taiwanese and Thai players are always so good on these kind of grass so the wind sort of even things out, making it a level playing field for us,” said Hend.
Hend is chasing his fourth win on the region’s premier Tour this week but is under no illusion that it is going to be an easy task ahead.
“It’s only day one and you got to be really consistent as this golf course is a very tricky one. I wouldn’t want to talk about my chances now but let’s see how it goes once we get to Sunday,” said Hend.
Meanwhile Cyr, who enjoyed a tied-ninth finish in last year’s edition, showed his liking for the Taiwan Golf and Country Club once again by making his card with four birdies against two bogeys despite the testing conditions in the morning.
“This is a big event for me especially for my re-rank at the end of the year. It was a grind out there but I played very solid and hit a lot of great shots. I’ve got to keep making the right decisions by hitting well and also chipping well too,” said the 27-year-old.
“You’re not going to hit every green out here. There are pretty firm and hard and you’ll be trouble if you hit into the rough and try to find a way out,” added the American.
Thaworn, who won a record 16th Asian Tour title on Chinese Taipei soil three weeks ago, continued to give another steady performance befitting of his status as the reigning merit champion.
The 46-year-old, winner of the 2004 Mercuries Taiwan Masters, opened with a bogey in his back-nine 10th but stayed patient before he was rewarded with two birdies after the turn on holes two and seven.
Thaworn then dropped another shot at the last to trail Hend by three.
“It was very windy when we started and it also started to rain. Those conditions made it very difficult to control my shots. But I hang in there and waited for the right opportunities to score. Thankfully, I managed to do most of that after the turn and it was satisfying,” said Thaworn.
The Mercuries Taiwan Masters is the last chance for players to break into the top-10 and secure their place in the lucrative CIMB Classic in Malaysia later this month.
It is also the penultimate event for leading players on the Order of Merit vying for a place in the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.
Leading first round scores after round 1 of the Mercuries Taiwan Masters 2013 being played at the par 72, 6923 Yards Tamsui Course course (a- denotes amateur):
69 - Scott HEND (AUS).
70 - Sam CYR (USA), Kalle SAMOOJA (FIN), David LUTTERUS (AUS).
71 - Adam GROOM (AUS), Prayad MARKSAENG (THA).
72 - Thaworn WIRATCHANT (THA), Panuphol PITTAYARAT (THA), HSU Mong-nan (TPE),  SIDDIKUR (BAN), CHIANG Chen-chih (TPE), Kodai ICHIHARA (JPN), Mardan MAMAT (SIN), Antonio LASCUNA (PHI), Chapchai NIRAT (THA), HSIEH Chi-hsien (TPE), Marcus BOTH (AUS).
73 - HSIEH Tung-shu (TPE), LU Wen-teh (TPE), Berry HENSON (USA), SUNG Mao-chang (TPE), Boonchu RUANGKIT (THA), Elmer SALVADOR (PHI), Rahil GANGJEE (IND), WANG Shih-jui (TPE), Anthony KANG (USA), Darren BECK (AUS), TSAI Chi-huang (TPE), Angelo QUE (PHI), BAEK Seuk-hyun (KOR), Shiv KAPUR (IND), Thanyakon KHRONGPHA (THA), Sam BRAZEL (AUS), LIN Yung-lung (TPE).
Selected scores
74 - Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND)
78 - LIN Wen-tang (TPE)
Ends.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. 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 Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.