Date: May 29, 2016
Author: Bernie McGuire, Surrey, England

Fan bothers Hend as he leads Wentworth

Big-hitting Aussie Scott Hend was angered by a drunken spectator en route to taking a one shot lead into the final round of the BMW PGA Championship.

Hend, 43 eagled the closing hole for a second day in succession in a round of 73 for a nine under par and ending three better than playing partner, a struggling Masters champion Danny Willett, who dropped five shots over his closing 10 holes and tumbled into a tie for fifth place at six under par.

The eagle at 18 came with Hend hitting a 145-metre eight-iron second shot over water guarding the green and then with his ball rolling off a bank behind the green and stopping a metre from the flag.

Hend, who is looking to become the first Australian-born winner at Wentworth in 26 years, knew he would get little favour from the near entire England crowd as he teed-up alongside the Augusta winning hero but he clearly did not deserve what began to take place on par three 14th hole. The 14th is one of the more favoured on-course ‘watering holes’ with a large bar and concessions stand near the tee.

“Danny was getting all the crowd support but I had no problem with that but there was a couple of guys out there in the 30s who were really over the top, and it wasn’t very nice what they were saying”, said Hend. “It was quite rude and personal what they were saying and if was up to me I would of had them thrown out.

“It’s not Danny’s fault but we are all out here playing golf but it’s not fair being drunk and being smart arses as these two guys were, and it was totally different what they were saying to me compared to if Australia was playing England in cricket or rugby league or rugby.

“Danny and I are mates.  I’ve played with him before and he wants me to do well and I want him to do well but when you get hecklers in the crowd and saying pretty rude things as they were, then I was ready to punch them. I didn’t see any marshals around but then when I mentioned to Danny I was going over to speak to them, he was just waiting for it all to kick off (smiling).

“So Danny was just waiting for me to punch one of the guys in the mouth as that’s how bad the guy was getting, as he had been hurling abuse before I hit my first putt at 14, and just wouldn’t shut up from there on.”

Hend could become the first Australian winner at Wentworth since Victorian Mike Harwood in 1990. Also if successful, Hend would become the third Australian to win twice this season after fellow Queenslanders Adam Scott and Jason Day captured back-to-back victories earlier this season.

 “It’s going to be nice tomorrow even though the board is pretty congested,” he said. “The golf course is staring to firm up and if the sun stays out it will become quite tricky, so it’s always great to have a couple of shots in the pocket and just see what happens.

“But then it would be nice to still be the leader after 72 holes though right now there is a lot of guys up there and it’s going to be a very competitive. So looking forward to it.”

In addition, if Hend does succeed he would gain a three-year exemption into The Open and also avoid having to tee-up in Monday’s 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier at nearby Walton Heath, as the BMW PGA champion will be exempt, if not otherwise, into the June 16th commencing event at Oakmont.