Date: October 20, 2013
Author: Asian Tour

Hend opens four stroke lead in Macau

Australian Scott Hend put on a masterclass with a blistering eight-under-par 63 to open up a four-shot lead over Ernie Els of South Africa and Bangladeshi Siddikur after the third round of the Venetian Macau Open on Saturday. Big-hitting Hend, who has won twice already this season, charged up the leaderboard with an eagle, seven birdies against a lone bogey for a three-day total of 12-under-par 201 in the US$800,000 Asian Tour event. Four-time Major winner Els battled to a 69 despite a hot start when he birdied two of his opening three holes while overnight leader Siddikur got his wish of playing with the Big Easy after a 70 for a 205 aggregate. India s Rahil Gangjee (66), Filipino Elmer Salvador (70), Daisuke Kataoka of Japan (69) and Baek Seuk-hyun of Korea (70 all share fourth place, a further stroke back going into the final 18 holes on Sunday. Since opening his campaign with a 74, Hend, who won the Chiangmai Golf Classic presented by PTT and Mercuries Taiwan Masters this year, has been irrepressible, shooting a 64 in the second round and improving by another shot today. He turned in 29 with an eagle from five feet on the second hole and four birdies before settling for three more birdies against a lone dropped shot at the treacherous par three 17th hole. Just an extra birdie. Just played a little bit better today. That&aposs all I can do, said Hend, who is currently second on the Asian Tour s Order of Merit. I&aposve set my goals I want to achieve. If hit my targets, that&aposs all I can ask. If somebody else goes out and shoots 61 tomorrow, and I don&apost shoot a good enough round, then well done to them. I can only control myself and what I do and that&aposs all I can ask of myself. I over engineered a few shots and a few putts. The old adage is &aposKeep It Simple, Stupid&apos and that&aposs pretty much what you&aposve got to do out there. Just fairways, greens, and read the putts. Don&apost over complicate it. Els, who is making his debut at the Venetian Macau Open, started strongly with birdies on two and three but failed to ride on the early momentum, with dropped shots on 14 and 16 preventing him from getting closer to Hend. But a birdie on 18, which he missed a short birdie putt on Friday, ensured him a spot in the final match with Hend and Siddikur. I wish I could have done that yesterday. But yeah, that was important great to play in the last threeball, see what the leader does firsthand, said Els. You just hope you get off to a good start and he doesn&apost, and you&aposre in the game. Or, you&aposve got to have a hot finish. So there&aposs a lot of golf left. I felt I was a bit off here and there. I&aposve got to go low tomorrow. It seems like Scott is playing really good. I played with him the first two rounds, and he had a tough start the first day, but since then, he&aposs been on fire. I feel good for the challenge tomorrow. For some reason, I feel I&aposve got a good chance. Pint-sized Siddikur is relishing a dream final day pairing with his idol, Els. I m so excited, said Siddikur, who turned in 32 but stuttered coming home with a double bogey, bogey and birdie on the card. I m not going to put pressure on myself. I ve got the experience of playing many times in the leader group. I m just going to play my own game and that s probably the best for me. If I can hold the putts, then I may have a chance. I need the putter to get hot. Today, it wasn t good. Yesterday, it was excellent.