Date: September 12, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Hend comes up just short again

For the second successive week, Scott Hend couldn't quite seal the deal on the European Tour.

After losing to playoff birdie in Switzerland last week, the Queenslander fell victim overnight to a scintillating final round by hometown hero Joost Luiten as the Dutchman charged to victory at the KLM Open.

Hend, who played in the Olympics for Australia last month, began the day alone in the lead and appeared to have steadied the ship after an early bogey with an eagle on the sixth and birdie on the seventh as Luiten and Bernd Weisberger closed.

But Hend drowned one on the par-four ninth and the subsequent double-bogey ceded the lead for the final time.

Another double on the long 15th sealed Hend's fate as Luiten and the Austrian settled down into a memorable battle.

The pair went blow for blow, but three birdies in his final five holes helped Luiten to a 19-under total and a three-shot victory over Wiesberger.

The triumph makes Luiten the first Dutch player to win his national Open twice since it joined the European Tour in 1972 – following his win in 2013 – and makes him a five-time winner on Tour.

South Korea's Byeong-hun An was then third at 13 under after matching Wiesberger's 65, a shot ahead of Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares, English duo Ben Evans and David Horsey and Hend.

But the day belonged to Luiten, who turned the hopes of a nation into one of the most remarkable final-round performances of the season as he made 10 birdies to delight his adoring home crowd.

"The first one was special but this one very special," he said.

"To have the Dutch people behind me all week and to be able to stand here with the trophy in my hands is very special.

"It was one of those days where everything I looked at went in the hole. People talk about the zone, and I think I was in it today.

"I missed one shot when I went in the water on 13, but besides that I didn’t do much wrong. These are the kind of days that make it all worth getting out of bed for."