True Thailand Classic: day three report

Scott Hend booms down the back nine in 32 shots to lead

Scott Hend Volvo China Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Scott Hend boomed down the back nine in 32 shots to take the lead

Scott Hend played the back nine in 32 shots to take the lead at the True Thailand Classic presented by Black Mountain.

His round of 66 was marred by a three-putt on the final green, but it was still enough to give him a one-shot lead after three rounds of the True Thailand Classic.

We are likely to hear a lot about big-hitting Aussies over the new few weeks in the cricket world cup, but here was one on the golf course in Thailand.

The 41-year-old started the back nine with a birdie from six feet on the 10th. On the 609-yard 13th a 400-yard drive followed by a 5-iron was almost enough .but his ball sneaked passed the edge of the hole and left him with a 3ft putt for eagle.

The Australian thought he may have made have made a albatross: “I did wonder if it had gone in when I heard the cheers – I couldn’t see the hole from where I was. It hit a nice little 5-iron and got a good bounce on the fringe of the green.”

Hend then chipped in for another birdie at the 15th and almost drove the 361-yard 17th for a simple birdie.

“It was a good round and puts me in a good position,” said Hend. “I played very solidly and putted quite well. I only made one mistake so it was pretty good.

“I’m very lucky and privileged to be playing golf for a living and this is where you want to be, in the last group on a Sunday.”

He will be joined in the final group by Tongchai Jaidee and Miguel Angel Jiménez, who lie one shot back. It will be a venerable final three-ball, with 41-year-old Hend as the stripling of the group.

Already a winner on this year’s Champions Tour, Jiménez, 51, would break his own record as The European Tour’s oldest winner if he triumphs. Shrugging off flu to play, he added a 69 on day three to his previous 67 and 66.

The day-two leader would have had had a share of the lead after day three had he not missed a 5ft putt on 18.

“I’m playing well and hitting it well,” reflected Jiménez. “I missed a few putts but I’m creating lots of chances. It could have been five or six under today but that’s the game and you have to take it.”

The home favourite and True Thailand Classic ambassador Jaidee birdied the last to match Jiménez in going bogey-free for the day and being on 14 under for the tournament.

“I need to practice my putting - putting will be the key to win this tournament,” said Jaidee, who for the second day running found 17 greens in regulation.

"I will just stick with my game. I think I will have a chance to go low if I can putt better.”

Jaidee will be carrying the bulk of the local hope as Kiradech Aphibarnrat, one shot off the lead overnight, is now three shots back after his back nine yielded only one birdie, offset by a bogey on 12.

True Thailand Classic leaderboard

Roderick Easdale

Contributing Writer Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests and he was contributing editor for the first few years of the Golf Monthly Travel Supplement. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He also compiles the magazine's crossword. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around two dozen countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is the author of five books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.