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An incredible final round on the ‘Links Course’ at WINSTONgolf ebbed and flowed as eight players had a genuine chance to lift the trophy over the final few holes. Ultimately, an incredible run of six birdies in a row got Hend over the line in dramatic fashion with a -10 total.
The Aussie started the day relatively slowly and slipped five shots off the lead as he had two early bogeys to play the first four holes in one-over-par. He birdied the 8th before catching fire from the 12th to surge into a one-shot lead ahead of playing partner Phillip Archer as they stood on the tee of the par-5 18th.
Hend’s 15-foot birdie effort grazed the edge of the hole, leaving Archer with an eight-footer to force a play-off. The Englishman, who lost in a five-hole play-off to Richard Green here last year, lipped out to once again fall agonisingly just short. His closing 67 contained just one dropped shot and six birdies, although only one of those came on the back nine at the 12th.
“To win on any Tour is great” Hend said. “I had some pretty high expectations coming out here and I knew the guys were very solid players. Unfortunate for Phillip to miss that putt on the last green not to have a play-off, but it feels great to get a win under the belt. It’s a new start to the career at 50+.”
“For the first 45 holes or so I really didn’t hole any putts and the last seven holes I hit it inside 12 feet and made the putts. On 18 I got a bad lie of the tee shot and made a par unfortunately, but I can’t complain with six birdies in the last seven. I didn’t look at the leaderboards until the 12th tee and I said to my caddie ‘we’ve got to pretty much birdie in to have a chance here’. Fortunately enough we came close to that and it was good enough to get over the line.”
MCB Road to Mauritius number one Peter Baker finished alongside Archer in tied-2nd with a bogey-free 67, including a birdie at the 18th, to extend his advantage at the top of the rankings. He was playing alongside fellow three-time winner this season Adilson da Silva, who shot a 68 to be tied-4th on -8. Raymond Russell also finished on -8 for his best finish of the season, with four birdies in the last seven holes en route to a bogey-free 68.
Qualifying School graduate Lionel Alexander was 6th on -7. Overnight leader Steen Tinning, 2018 WINSTONgolf Senior Open champion Stephen Dodd and Andrew Raitt were tied-7th on -6. James Kingston completed the top 10 at -5.
Visit www.legendstour.com to see the final leaderboard, MCB Road to Mauritius standings and the full Legends Tour schedule. The next event is the Sergio Melpignano Senior Italian Open at San Domenico Golf on October 26th-28th.