Australian Scott Hend launched an extraordinary back nine charge to win the WINSTONgolf Senior Open in his debut tournament on the Legends Tour in Europe.
One-over through the first four holes of the final round to find himself five back in Germany, it looked unlikely that Hend would make it consecutive wins by Aussies on the back of Richard Green’s victory in 2022.
Eight players had a genuine chance to lift the trophy over the final few holes but an incredible run of six birdies in a row got Hend over the line in dramatic fashion.
The Queenslander caught fire from the 12th hole to stand on the par-5 18th tee with a one-shot lead from playing partner Phillip Archer.
Hend’s 15-foot birdie effort for seven straight grazed the edge of the hole, leaving Archer with an eight-footer to force a playoff.
The Englishman, who lost in a five-hole playoff to Green at WINSTONgolf last year, lipped out to once again fall agonisingly 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.
Just a month after turning 50, Hend’s final round of 6-under 66 and 10-under total ensured he started the next phase of his career in perfect fashion.
“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 playoff, but it feels great to get a win under the belt.
“It’s a new start to the career at 50.”
As is often the case when a player enjoys a hot streak such as Hend experienced late on Sunday, it was the putter that proved the difference, Hend effectively predicting what was to come.
“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,’” said Hend.
“Fortunately enough, we came close to that and it was good enough to get over the line.
“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.”
Photo: Phil Inglis/Getty Images