Date: February 09, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

Hend flying blind, but high

If you’re a believer in the “better with experience” mantra, it might pay you to watch out for Scott Hend at the ISPS Handa Vic Open this weekend.

The ever-entertaining Queenslander tees off almost off the radar today, yet is only six shots from the lead after rounds of 69-67 left him at eight under.

What is more remarkable, though, is that Hend’s five-under salvo on Friday afternoon came with next to no knowledge of the Beach Course.

The 2016 Olympian arrived on the Bellarine Peninsula on Tuesday after scurrying from Saudi Arabia, the previous stop on the European Tour.

So the back nine on Friday came almost “sight unseen”.

“That was my first run around the whole, what’s it calle again … the Beach Course, yeah,” Hend said with a broad grin.

“I only played nine holes on Wednesday, and (my caddie) Tony had a quick look around yesterday, but it was tough to find lines to hit it on if you can’t see (a specific) target.

“Finding that perfect line can be tough, like on the 18th there, I had no clue where to hit it, but when you get up there you see you should just rip it down the left and you’d have a short iron in, but we didn’t know that, so played (well right).

“So we’ll know for the weekend, I’m just glad to get that chance.”

The exquisitely shod Hend admitted he’d struggled with the putter through his first 27 holes, but had a helping hand with two chip-in eagles to maintain his progress.

But he drained a big putt on 11th for his third eagle of the week to kick-start an inward 32 and continue the form that took him to a share of sixth in Saudi Arabia.

“I hadn’t really holed a putt all week until then, but I’ve holed out twice, one from a chip-in and one from the bunker for two eagles so it’s a funny game.

“Then again, I had an eagle on the front (nine today), but gave it back with a double … that’s golf.”