Australia’s Scott Hend returned to winning ways by clinching his first Asian Tour title since 2016 with his dramatic play-off victory over Spain’s Nacho Elvira at the Maybank Championship on Sunday.
Hend held a slender one-shot lead heading into the final hole but late drama ensued when a clap of thunder disrupted Elvira’s approach into the 18th green. The skies opened soon after leaving officials with no choice but to suspend the play at 2.49pm (local time)
When play resumed at 4.30pm, Elvira drained a monstrous 30-feet birdie putt to force a play-off with Hend, who had no answer to the Spaniard’s remarkable birdie effort.
After more than 90 minutes of delay, Hend and Elvira were back at the tee box on 18.
Hend got a lucky break when his tee shot at the first extra-hole hit the base of a tree and ended up on the fairway, while Elvira’s ball went into the fairway bunker.
The Australian hit another tree with his second shot and went into the greenside bunker. Hend splashed his shot out from the bunker to within three feet of the hole which he coolly rolled in to clinch the Maybank Championship and banish memories of his previous play-off defeats in Switzerland in 2016 and 2017.
Elvira’s runner-up finish was his second in as many starts after he ended his recent campaign in Qatar in a tie for second in his last outing.
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond enjoyed yet another top-10 finish by closing with a 69 to take third place while Johannes Veerman of the United States bettered his previous best result of 12th position in 2017 by signing off with a 66 to finish in fourth place.
Did you know?
- With this victory, Scott Hend moved into second place on the all-time career-earnings list, and becomes the second player to break the US$5 million mark on the Asian Tour.
- Scott Hend has appeared in every edition of the Maybank Championship since it was first played in 2016. His best previous result was 29th in 2017.
- He is the first Australian to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit title in 2016
- All of Hend’s wins have come in Asia.
- Hend is the fourth player after Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant, Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng to obtain 10 wins or more on the Asian Tour.
- Nacho Elvira was making his third appearance consecutive appearance at the Maybank Championship and the first time he has made the cut.
- It was also the first time he held the 54-hole lead on the European Tour.
- Jazz Janewattananond has appeared in every edition of the Maybank Championship since it was first played in 2016. His best previous result was a tied-39th finish last year.
- He broke into the world’s top-100 for the first time in his career after claiming his third Asian Tour title at the season-opening event in Singapore in January.
- That victory also earned him a coveted spot in The Open, where he made his Major debut last year.
- Johannes Veerman is born to an Indonesian mother and an American father. He resides in Texas but had spent 13 years living in Asia.
- Veerman came through Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2016 and went on to enjoy a dream rookie season.
- He bagged three consecutive top-10 finishes on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) before securing his breakthrough win at the Taifong Open.
- He became the third American to lift the ADT Order of Merit crown in 2016 with that victory and as well as five other top-10 finishes.
Scott Hend (Aus) Fourth round 67 (-5), Total 273 (-15)
What a putt by Nacho. If I was to go out there and hit that putt you would say you would hole it one in ten times. It was an amazing putt, and in the situation he holed it. All credit to Nacho, it was fantastic.
The spirit we played in today was great too. He’s such a nice guy. We were both egging each other on to play well. That’s the way we want to play golf.
I felt like I played fantastic on the back nine. Nearly holed a lot of putts, just missing. Just had to keep my head on and stay patient, stay in there. Worst case scenario was a play-off. If I hole some putts I win.
I had to get off to a fast start as I was three shots behind. That’s all there was to it. I was fortunate enough to turn I in five-under and on the back-nine I shot even-par. I can’t ask for much more on a Sunday when the golf course is playing quite tricky.
I’m fantastic out of bunkers. We pretty much knew the line of the putt. It was pretty much the same putt I hit in regulation. All I had to do was keep my head on, don’t let it explode, just have a nice stroke through the ball.
I’m a grinder and a fighter. So is my caddie Tony. We both have the same mental attitude. It doesn’t matter how old we are, we work hard at what we do. Just takes a bit of luck to win. Obviously I had a bit of luck on the play-off hole. If you don’t have any luck you won’t win.
I had the luck today, unfortunately for Nacho. His time will come, he’s going to win. He’s a great player, he’s going to win.
I’m leading the Asian Tour Order of Merit at the moment and it gives me a good chance to win it again. It’ll be another fantastic achievement and I would like to do it again.
Nacho Elvira (Esp) Fourth round 70 (-2), Total 273 (-15)
It was a bit of bad luck, I’m glad I made it last a little longer with the play-off. Sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn’t.
It was thunder in a bad moment, but the gods did give me one back with that putt. I think I played great all week, solid, consistent, I’m very happy with that. I’m happy that my game has finally showed a little bit of consistency.
I tried to give it all on the play-off hole. I just missed my driver a little bit and gave myself a little chance to make birdie, but I’m happy.
Lifting trophies is the point, that’s what we try to do every week. Hopefully it works out soon.
Jazz Janewattananond (Tha) Fourth round 69 (-3), Total 275 (-13)
It was mostly good for me today. I just struggled in the middle of the round. To birdie the last hole of a tournament is always nice. I’m happy with the tournament overall. A top-three finish is always something special especially in a co-sanctioned event with the European Tour.
Maybe I didn’t have enough breakfast today or something. Everything seems OK and then, I don’t know, maybe I need to work on something. Is there something out there that I need to work on with my caddie or with my coach Pete Cowen? We’ll see what I can improve and work on it from there.
I made some good putts at the start. It’s a good result, I’m really happy with it.
Johannes Veerman (Usa) Fourth round 66 (-6), Total 276 (-12)
This is one of the tournaments which you really want to do well and I’m really happy I did that this week. I love Malaysia, I’ve played a lot of ADT (Asian Development Tour) events here so I feel really comfortable being here in Malaysia. I was playing well the entire week but I felt like I made too many bogeys. So my main goal today was not to drop anymore shots which I managed to do. I couldn’t be happier with how I played. I played well here two years ago and I’ve many good memories of this course. I’m a little bit more experience now and I’m able to manage my emotions better now. It’s nice to make a move on the Order of Merit but it’s a long year and there’s still a lot of golf to play. But at least it’s a start.
Leading scores after round 4 of the Maybank Championship being played at the par 72, 7136 Yards Saujana GCC course (am – denotes amateur):
273 – Scott Hend (AUS) 69-70-67-67, Nacho Elvira (ESP) 65-72-66-70.
275 – Jazz Janewattananond (THA) 66-72-68-69.
276 – Johannes Veerman (USA) 72-69-69-66.
277 – Oliver Fisher (ENG) 70-70-68-69, Maximilian Kieffer (GER) 71-67-68-71.
278 – Jordan Smith (ENG) 74-68-71-65, Darren Fichardt (RSA) 76-65-71-66, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 72-72-66-68, Andy Sullivan (ENG) 72-70-67-69, Ernie Els (RSA) 68-70-69-71, Benjamin Hebert (FRA) 69-73-65-71.
279 – Ross Fisher (ENG) 72-71-66-70, David Lipsky (USA) 72-66-67-74.
280 – Masahiro Kawamura (JPN) 69-70-73-68, Erik Van Rooyen (RSA) 71-69-72-68, Dean Burmester (RSA) 68-70-73-69, Nicholas Fung (MAS) 68-73-69-70, Siddikur Rahman (BAN) 70-71-68-71.
For full results, download here.