Hend’s 64 puts him on the summit in Switzerland
A year after losing out in a play-off and Scott Hend has immediately put himself back into contention on day one of the European Masters in Switzerland.
The big-hitting Queenslander used his length off the tee to grab seven birdies, including three in succession early in his round and then birdied two of his closing three holes, in a sizzling six-under 64 on the Alpine Crans-sue-Sierre course.
Scott Hend (Credit: European Masters)
The effort, one shot less than his opening round in 2016, put Hend into a share of the lead with Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez and England’s Tyrrell Hatton.
Jimenez, at 53 years and eight months, is looking to extend his ‘Oldest Winner’ title on the European Tour that he first achieved in late 2013 by winning the Hong Kong Open and then some six weeks later eclipsing that effort with his 21st Tour victory after capturing the Spanish Open.
“It was good to get some birdies on the back nine, which was my front nine today,” said Hend.
“I had to play the hard hole which was the par-three 16 and made a bogey there so it was nice to get some birdies before dropping that shot.”
“And it was nice to get off to a good start after coming so close last year,” said Pend after losing out to the red-hot Swede Alex Noren.
“The course is playing a bit different this year so it’s nice to come in with a good round before the wind picks up in the afternoon.”
“Hopefully another good round tomorrow will put me in position for the weekend.”
And having gone so close a year ago, Hend also believes ‘local knowledge’ will play a big part if he is to become the first Australian since Brett Rumford in 2007 to be fitted with the red winner’s jacket.
“This course is always about where you hit your bad shots” he added.
“So, I think a lot of experience on this golf course does help. It’s a beautiful day today and I heard it will stay beautiful tomorrow too. We will see how it goes”.
It was also a good first round for Todd Sinnott, who is contesting the event for the first time.
The Victorian birdied four holes in succession from his 14th hole in a bogey-free 5 -under 65 and among six players, including Kiwi Ryan Fox, sharing fourth place and only off shot off the lead.