Friday, August 18, 2017

Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Scott Hend of Australia took advantage of his blistering form  to sign for a six-under-par 66 and grab a share of the halfway lead at the Fiji International today.
Hend overcame a five-shot deficit to sit atop the leaderboard alongside countryman Jason Norris (68), Malaysia’s Gavin Green (69) and overnight leader Daniel Pearce (71) of New Zealand on seven-under-par 137 total at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.
The 44-year-old Hend drilled in a monstrous 65-footer for eagle on the par-five first and added three birdies to cap a brilliant front nine of 31. He traded two birdies against a bogey on his way home to move into a share of the lead.
The leading quartet holds a two-shot advantage over Australian trio Adam Bland, David McKenzie and Peter Wilson, who returned with identical 71s to share fifth place, at the A$1.5 million (approximately US$1.14 million) event.
Hend, a nine-time Asian Tour winner, will have the Presidents Cup at the back of his mind in his weekend battle at the Fiji International. He hopes a strong showing this week will help him make the International team as one of the captain’s pick, which will be named in September.
Green, who opened his campaign with a 68, took pride in his battling performance as he stayed on track for a career breakthrough after carding a bogey-free round highlighted by three birdies on the first, fourth and 17th holes.
Australian Harry Bateman holed his sand wedge from 130 metres to record the second ace of the week on the par-three 15 hole. He posted a 66 to trail by three shots in tied-eighth position at the event, tri-sanctioned by the Asian, European and the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia.



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