Hend, the first Australian to lift the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown in 2016, will be looking for another successful run in Malaysia when he makes his debut appearance in the US$300,000 event, slated to take place at the Damai Golf and Country Club in Kuching from August 15 to 18.

The 45-year-old Hend had earlier claimed his 10th Asian Tour victory and first in three years in Malaysia in March. That victory saw him break the US$5 million mark in career earnings on the Asian Tour to become the second highest-earning player following Thai star Thongchai Jaidee.

Hend, who claimed all his 10 victories in Asia, is also the fourth player after Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant (18), Thongchai (13) and Prayad Marksaeng (10) to obtain 10 wins or more on the Asian Tour.

“After winning the 2016 Order of Merit, I thought it would be great if, at some stage, I can get the chance to contend for the title again. It will be an exciting battle with Jazz playing well and my drive to try and win the title again.

RIGHT: Hend is hoping to chase down Jazz Janewattananond in the Order of Merit. PHOTO: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

“The Sarawak Championship will be the start of a busy stretch for me and I hope to close the gap on Jazz with a good result there,” said Hend, who broke through in Indonesia in 2008 before claiming eight titles in four years from 2012.

Sitting in second place on the current Asian Tour Order of Merit, the big-hitting Hend will have another shot at chasing for the Merit crown as he aims to close the gap on leader Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand with a fine showing in Sarawak.

“2019 has been a year of recovery for me. I was injured last year and have been working hard to get back some form. It was nice to win in Malaysia and prove to myself that all the hard work is worth the troubles and sacrifices,” Hend added.

Hend will spearhead the talented cast alongside Jazz, a four-time Asian Tour winner, as well as India’s Shiv Kapur, Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines, American Micah Lauren Shin and Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana.

Supported by the Sarawak State government, the Sarawak Championship will see a total of 156 players from 22 countries vying for top honours at the full-field Asian Tour event, which will be the Tour’s second stop in Malaysia this season.