Looking back: Hend trumps Prayad

Tue 11 Nov 2014

Looking back: Hend trumps Prayad

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November 11: You can never write off Scott Hend’s chances of winning a golf tournament, even when he seems to be trailing by a mile.
The big Aussie cemented his reputation as the “Comeback King” on the Asian Tour after producing yet another spectacular come-from-behind victory at the inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT.
Since his arrival in Asia in 2007, Hend has shown all the attributes needed to be successful in the game but more impressive has been his wonderful knack of fighting against all odds when the chips are down.
His two Asian Tour victories at the 2008 Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational and 2012 ISPS Handa Singapore Classic were classic fightbacks where he came from four and five shots back respectively to win.
But when Hend trailed a seemingly unstoppable Thai hero Prayad Marksaeng by six shots going into the last day in Chiangmai, he conceded that victory was the furthest thing on his mind.
“To be honest, I didn’t think I had a chance to win, I was just looking for a solid top-five finish,” said Hend.
But a brilliant closing 18 holes of eight-under-par 64 saw him streak past a faltering Prayad at the Alpine Golf Resort-Chiangmai, which also featured Major champions Ernie Els of South Africa and Korea’s history-maker Y.E. Yang.
“Obviously it all fell together and I played quite well. Unfortunately for the other guys, they didn’t quite keep the pace going which was good for me,” said Hend, who totalled a winning aggregate of 20-under-par 268 and earned US$135,000.
Hend competed on the PGA Tour in 2005 and 2006 but his Stateside career hit a bump through a serious hand injury. He subsequently turned his attention to Asia and immediately built a reputation as a big hitter and won the Driving Distance category for numerous seasons.
The well-travelled Hend certainly has no regrets focussing his career on the region’s premier Tour. “The Asian Tour has been a fantastic place for me to be in. This is the Tour in the region and in my eyes it is the only Tour in the region. It is a fantastic breeding ground for the young players and the middle-aged players such as myself,” he said.
“Everyone wants to come out and forge a good living and play in good tournaments and try to move on to the next level. This is a great place to be and a place to play on.”
South African newcomer Bryce Easton, playing in his maiden Asian Tour event, shot a closing 64 to take second place while home favourite Prayad, who looked so dominant when he led by five into the last round, settled for third place on 272.
“I got going nicely and got into a position to win. I hit a few shots close early on and made a couple of putts and kept building on that. I just kept heading in the right direction but made some mistakes in the end,” said Easton.
After three days of imperious golf, Prayad lamented a poor start which dashed his hopes of winning in front of his home crowd. “My irons were no good. The second shots were always reaching the fringe on almost every hole. My feeling was okay when I started the final round. I’m not angry now although I had a chance to win,” said the 47-year-old veteran star.