European Tour

Hend packs punch to take Wentworth lead

2016-05-28 20:14
Scott Hend (AFP Photo)

Wentworth - Australia's Scott Hend had the backing of Masters champion Danny Willett in confronting a drunken spectator on route to eagling the last for a second day running to take a one shot lead into the final round of the EPGA Championship at Wentworth.

Hend, 43, had just a virtual tap-in eagle 'three' in a round of 73 for a nine under par tally as he seeks to end a 26-year Australia winless drought at the European Tour's flagship event.

Willett, who shared the lead with Hend heading into day three of the $4.4 million event, went ahead with a birdie at the fifth but stumbled with five bogeys over his remaining 10 holes in an eventual 76 for a five-way share of fifth place at six under par.

Fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton produced the lowest score of the day, a six under par 66 to be in second place on eight under par and one clear of compatriot Lee Westwood (68) and Korean YE Yang (75).

The last Australian to win at Wentworth was Mike Harwood in 1990 but that was of no significance as Hend strives to win a second European Tour event in seven appearances, since capturing the co-sanctioned Thailand Classic.

But Hend, who has won 12 of his victories in eight different countries, is yet to win on European soil despite first playing a full European Tour schedule in 2010.

"It's just a matter of time before it happens," said Hend in his own direct manner.

However, it was two inebriated spectators that Hend was clearly more concerned about -- with the six-foot Queensland-born but now Florida-based pro ready to take action into his own hands.

"Danny was getting all the crowd support but I had no problem with that, but there was a couple of guys out there in the 30s who were really over the top, and it wasn't very nice what they were saying," said Hend.

"It was quite rude and personal what they were saying and if it was up to me, I would of had them thrown out.

"It's not Danny's fault but we are all out here playing golf, but it's not fair being drunk and being smart arses as these two guys were, and it was totally different what they were saying to me compared to if Australia was playing England in cricket or rugby league or rugby.

"Danny and I are mates. I've played with him before and he wants me to do well and I want him to do well but when you get hecklers in the crowd and saying pretty rude things as they were, then I was ready to punch them.

"I didn't see any marshals around but then when I mentioned to Danny I was going over to speak to them, he was just waiting for it all to kick off.

"So Danny was just waiting for me to punch one of the guys in the mouth as that's how bad the guy was getting as he had been hurling abuse at me before I hit my first putt at 14, and just wouldn't shut up from there on."

Willett was not asked about the incident with the spectators and instead was trying to come to terms again with two contrasting nines.

On day two, the Augusta National winning hero was out in 29 but played the inward half in 39, whereas on day three he posted an outward half of 35 and played the back nine in 41.

"We hit some bad shots out there, but it's tough to stay on par when your ball doesn't stay on line," said Willett.

Leading scores from the third round of the European PGA Championship at Wentworth on Saturday (par 72):

207 - Scott Hend (AUS) 65-69-73

208 - Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 72-70-66

209 - Lee Westwood (ENG) 71-70-68, Y E Yang (KOR) 65-69-75

210 - Julien Quesne (FRA) 69-74-67, Chris Wood (ENG) 72-70-68, Thomas Aiken (RSA) 71-69-70,Martin Kaymer (GER) 70-70-70, Jaco Van Zyl (RSA) 67-68-75, Danny Willett (ENG) 66-68-76

211 - Robert Dinwiddie (ENG) 70-69-72, Peter Hanson (SWE) 70-69-72

212 - Nicolas Colsaerts (BEL) 73-71-68, Romain Wattel (FRA) 69-73-70, Daniel Brooks (ENG) 71-70-71, Joost Luiten (NED) 65-74-73

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