Mon, Mar 25, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Hend beats Elvira in Maybank playoff

THUNDEROUS FINISH:Scott Hend’s drives were not always accurate and he had to scrap for some of his birdies on the green to join Elvira at the top of the leaderboard

Reuters, KUALA LUMPUR

Scott Hend of Australia reacts as rain pours down during the Malaysia Maybank Golf Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, yesterday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Australia’s Scott Hend yesterday beat overnight leader Nacho Elvira of Spain with a birdie on the first playoff hole to win the cosanctioned US$3 million Maybank Championship after wild weather triggered a dramatic finish.

Hend was leading Elvira by a single stroke as the leading pair arrived on the final fairway and torrential rain started falling at the Saujana Golf and Country Club.

The first crack of thunder came as Elvira hit his approach shot to the 18th green and, with lightning flashing around them, the players were forced off the course before either could attempt a putt.

They returned after a delay of 100 minutes and Elvira nailed his birdie putt from 9m for a two-under-par 70, which tied the two at 15-under 273 and forced a playoff.

Hend looked in trouble when he landed in a greenside bunker on the first playoff hole, but it was his turn to celebrate minutes later when he landed a 1m putt after his opponent’s birdie putt had stopped just short of the hole.

It was a third European Tour and 10th Asian Tour title for the big-hitting 45-year-old Hend, who spent 2004 to 2006 on the PGA Tour.

Hend started the round three shots behind Elvira, but, on another day of stifling heat in the Malaysian capital, made six birdies and a single bogey, hitting a 67 for the second day in a row.

His drives, although typically long, were not always accurate and he had to scrap for some of his birdies on the green, not least at the sixth and seventh holes when he drained lengthy putts to join Elvira at the top of the leaderboard.

An accurate drive and an aggressive approach shot to within 2m at the ninth hole earned Hend another birdie and the sole lead.

He bogeyed the 10th hole, but Elvira did, too. When Hend extended his lead to two shots with his final shot at the 13th hole, it looked like the title was his.

Elvira, who led by two shots coming into the final round, had never really gotten going, but a birdie at the 16th hole finally put him under par for the day — and a shot behind Hend overall, which set up the late drama.

Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand threatened to challenge when he bagged three birdies in his first seven holes, but failed to kick on and he finished third, two shots behind the leaders and a shot in front of fourth-placed Johannes Veerman of the US.

South Africa’s former world No. 1 Ernie Els finished in share of seventh on 10-under after a 71.

Lin Wen-tang of Taiwan finished in a share of 60th place with one-over-par, while his compatriot Chan Shih-chang was 15-over-par and cut from the tournament.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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