Scott Hend with his 2016 Asian Tour Order of Merit trophy – file photo Asian Tour
Australia’s Scott Hend has not played an event on the Asian Tour since the Hong Kong Open in early 2020 but today he gave another indication as to why he has been such a dominant force in Asia since first playing there nearly 15 years ago.
The 48-year-old Florida based Brisbane golfer finished in a share of 4th place at this week’s Blue Canyon Phuket Championship in Thailand, the first Asian Tour event since March of 2020 and Hend’s first top ten in his last sixteen starts anywhere in 2021.
Admittedly most of those starts, in fact all of them in 2021 have been in a hectic 28 event European Tour schedule for Hend, who produced a brilliant weekend of 65 and 67 to come from eight shots behind the halfway leaders to finish two shots from the winner, Chan Shih-chang of Chinese Taipei.
Following his brilliant third round of 65 yesterday, Hend was knocking on the leader’s door today when he reached 4 under for the day through 11 holes but a bogey at the hole he eagled yesterday, the 15th, slowed the momentum and he would eventually finish in a share of 4th and earn a cheque for US$38,200.
The finish moves Hend to 22nd on the 2020 / 2021 Order of Merit but it should be remembered he has played only two events in a season in which two seasons have been formed into one.
Throughout his career Hend has been regularly amongst the top four or five on the Asian Tour money list when he has focused his attention there. He has spent a lot of time in Europe and played the PGA Tour for couple of seasons but Asia seems to be a place he feels at home and where he has had his most success including ten Asian Tour titles.
On eight occasions since 2007, Hend has been inside the top four finishers on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, one of those when he won the Order of Merit in 2016. He has also been three times runner-up.
Hend is currently entered to play next week’s Laguna Phuket Championship where a win could sweep him into second place on the current Order of Merit although that might be dependent on how the likes of the current leader, Wade Ormsby of Australia, and this week’s winner, Chan, perform.
Ormsby finished 23rd this week and retains the lead atop the money list, US$15,000 ahead of Chan. Most of Ormsby’s earnings came from his win at the Hong Kong Open in the first week of 2020 and another very good week when 7th at the New Zealand Open, now jointly sanctioned between the Asian and Australasian Tours.
Brad Kennedy, who won the New Zealand Open in March of 2020, is the next best of the Australians on the Order of Merit in 5th place with US$173,000, all of which was won in Queenstown.
Kennedy’s fellow Queenslander, Andrew Dodt, is 9th and Wollongong’s Travis Smyth who finished an solid 10th this week is 17th.
The leading 30 players on the Order of Merit at the completion of the current season in January earn the right to play a lucrative (US$5 million) event in Saudi Arabia early in 2022.
This week’s winner Chan Shih-Chang – photo Paul Lakatos Asian Tour