Sun, Feb 05, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Hend stays ahead of charging challengers in Myanmar

AFP, YANGON, MYANMAR

Australia’s Scott Hend kept his nose in front at the Zaykabar Myanmar Open yesterday with a three-under 69 in the third round to take a one-shot lead into the final day.

Hend is aiming to end a three-year title drought, but will have to hold off the challenge of rising Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who also shot a 69 to lie one shot back at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club.

Tetsuji Hiratsuka of Japan kept alive his hopes of retaining the title when he posted a 67 to share third place with Marcus Both of Australia, a two-time Asian Tour winner, and Ben Fox of the US.

The big-hitting Hend, 39, who last won on the Asian Tour in 2008, fired a flawless round with three birdies and said he was not concerned by the chasing pack.

“It doesn’t really worry me, I’m a good player myself, why should I worry about what’s behind me? I’ll just look at what’s in front,” Hend said, according to an Asian Tour press release.

He said he was delighted with his performance so far, despite some disappointing putting.

“It was a bit difficult because I didn’t hole any putts. That was an opportunity gone to put some people out of the tournament and I didn’t do that. It is going to be a good day tomorrow, should be a good shoot-out so let’s see what happens,” he said.

Kiradech, known for his grip-it and rip-it style of play, birdied the final hole to stay within touching distance of the leader, while Hiratsuka birdied all the par-fives in his round of seven birdies against two bogeys to give himself a chance of defending the title he won in 2010.

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