European Tour

Hend drives ahead in Thailand

2015-02-14 14:24
Scott Hend (AFP Photo)

Hua Hin - An impressive six-under-par 66 fired Australia's Scott Hend into the lead at day three of the Thailand Classic Saturday, leap-frogging Miguel Angel Jimenez who struggled to repeat his stellar day two performance.

Hend, a renowned long hitter with six Asian Tour wins under his belt, will begin Sunday's final round on 201 thanks to five birdies and an impressive eagle on the 609-yard 13th at the $2 million tournament in Hua Hin.

But with just a one-shot lead there is still plenty to play for.

Snapping at Hend's heels is 51-year-old Jimenez, the oldest player in the field, alongside local hero Thongchai Jaidee, both on 201.

A day earlier the Spaniard had jumped to the top of the pack thanks to a remarkable round of 11 birdies. But this time Jimenez had to content himself with just three on a day that was otherwise dominated by somewhat disappointing par shots.

Thongchai's compatriot Kiradech Aphibarnrat begins the final day in third on 204, chased by four players a shot behind - Australian trio Andrew Dodt, Richard Green and Wade Ormsby as well as Sweden's Alex Noren.

Hend had no illusions his long drives could be what seals victory - if he can repeat the kind of showing he made on the 13th hole.

"It was a nice long drive on 13," he said after the match according to a report released by the organisers.

"It hit a wet patch from the rain and picked up a bit of speed down the hill. I hit a nice little five iron in there and got a good bounce on the fringe of the green."

Jimenez remained confident he could still come out on top by the end of Sunday.

"I only had three birdies but it was a bogey-free round. The last hole was close to being a birdie, but just missed. I'm playing well and hitting it well," he said.

Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey, who fired a blistering course record 64 on the opening day, slipped even further Saturday down to tied 27th on 209.

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