Monday, December 05, 2016

Scott has the upper Hend as Asian Tour has climatic close with Hong Kong Open

Hong Kong: Australia’s Scott Hend virtually has one hand on the prestigious Asian Tour’s Order of Merit trophy as the season comes to a climatic close at this week’s US$2 million UBS Hong Kong Open.
The 43-year-old Order of Merit leader, pictured, holds a sizeable lead of US$302,419 ahead of compatriot and second-ranked Marcus Fraser, who needs a victory at the venerable Hong Kong Golf Club to have any hope of winning the Merit title.
If Fraser wins, Hend can still become the new Asian Tour number one by finishing alone as far down as 13th position at a tournament which he was victorious in 2014 when he pipped Filipino Angelo Que in a play-off.
With two victories at the True Thailand Classic and Queen’s Cup plus three other top-10s this season, big-hitting Hend has accumulated US$996,592 from 10 starts and is poised to become only the fourth player in Asian Tour history to surpass US$1 million in earnings in a season.
India’s Jeev Milkha Singh was the first to hit the seven-figure mark where he earned US$1.45 million in 2008 while Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand amassed US$1.12 million in 2013 and reigning Merit champion Anirban Lahiri accumulated US$1.13 million last season.
Fraser, who was victorious in Malaysia earlier this season, has earned US$694,173 this season. In recent tournaments, he has conceded that Hend will become the new number one.
A winner’s cheque of US$333,330 awaits the 2016 UBS Hong Kong Open champion on Sunday.
Should Hend complete his ascension to number one on Sunday, it would cap a truly impressive career in Asia as he has won nine Asian Tour titles, finished runner-up on the Order of Merit twice and was fourth on three other occasions since making his debut in 2007.
By far, Hend is also the most successful international golfer on the Asian Tour and has won the eight tournaments over the last five years, the most by any player during the same time.
As the final tournament of the season, the Hong Kong showpiece will also see players fighting to keep their Tour cards with the likes of Mardan Mamat of Singapore, Scott Barr of Australia, Chinnarat Phadungsil of Thailand and Javi Colomo of Spain being in the top-60 bubble.



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