HONG KONG (AFP) – Scott Hend won the $1.3 million Hong Kong Open yesterday, beating Filipino Angelo Que in a playoff for the biggest title of the Australian’s career to date.
The 41-year-old held his nerve on the first extra hole, sinking a five-footer for par and his first European Tour victory as Que could only manage a bogey.
Hend, who has five Asian Tour wins to his name, collected a winner’s cheque of $216,660 and will now head to nearby Macau where he is defending the title he won there last year.
It was a dramatic day at the top of the leaderboard at the Hong Kong Golf Club, with a host of players tightly bunched together and all with a chance of winning in the southern Chinese city.
England’s Mark Foster led for a decent chunk of the day after making birdies at the first two holes while overnight leader Marcus Fraser endured an indifferent round that started with a double bogey.
Que and Hend made their move over the back nine with the Australian grabbing birdies at 10, 12 and 14 to take the lead with Que picking up shots on three straight holes from the 12th.
The Filipino, playing a yellow ball, dramatically tied with Hend on 13-under after a sensational shot from the rough, round the trees, led to a birdie on the eighteenth.
It then looked like Que was going to become the Philippines’ first winner on the European Tour when Hend dumped his approach shot to the final hole into the bunker.
But the big-hitting Australian got up and down to force the playoff over the eighteenth, where Que fluffed a chip, costing him a historic title and leaving Hend with a short putt to win.
“Finally at the age of 41 I’ve won a European Tour event. It’s very special,” said Hend.
“I live to play golf and this is what it’s all about. This is what makes it worthwhile”
“I’m good mates with Angelo and I feel bad for him making the bogey the way he did. Of course we want to win but you don’t want to see your competitor make a mistake for you to win.
“But I’ll take the win and treasure it,” he added.
Que, dressed in lime-green trousers and a bright orange shirt, said the iron from the rough on his final hole of regulation play was the “shot of my career”.
“Coming in this week my goal was to finish top ten, top five, so second is way better,” he told reporters.
Unheralded Irishman Kevin Phelan finished third on 11-under par with Foster in fourth place one shot further back.
Four-time major winner Ernie Els, starting the final round three shots behind, failed to make a move and ended tied for fifth on nine-under.