Scott Hend will resume his chase for a second Asian Tour Order of Merit crown when he tees off for the 62nd Kolon KOREA Open Golf Championship at the Woo Jeong Hills Country Club next week.
Hailed as one of the most successful international players on the Asian Tour, Hend claimed his 10th victory at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia earlier in March and took over the driver’s seat on the Order of Merit, which he previously topped in 2016.
Hend, who has yet to win outside of Asia on Tour, is looking to continue his affinity with the continent by winning for the first time in Korea at its national Open which is slated to take place from June 20 to 23.
“It’s been awhile since I last played the Korea Open, but I am looking forward to the challenge again,” said the big-hitting Hend, a globetrotter who is now playing in his 21st year as a professional golfer.
“My main recollection of the course is that the greens have lots of gradient and can be fast and tricky with tough pin placements.
“I love visiting Korea and I look forward to every opportunity that I can get to come back and play or just relax and see my friends.”
With Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond trailing him by about US$56,000 in second place, Hend is feeling upbeat about the Merit race which he reckoned will be an exciting battle heading into the second half of the season.
“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 a nice finish to year with Jazz playing well and my drive to try and win the title again.
RIGHT: Janewattananond trails Hend in the Asian Tour Order of Merit. PHOTO: Jamie Squire/Getty Images.
“I am sure it will be a close battle. A very busy end of year for me as I am trying to fit events from two Tours into a condensed few months,” added the 45-year-old Hend, who resides in the United States.
Hend will headline the prestigious event alongside Jazz and defending champion Minchel Choi of Korea, Thailand’s Prom Meesawat and Poom Saksansin, as well as Indian duo Rahil Gangjee and Ajeetesh Sandhu.
“2019 has been a year of recovery for me. I was injured last year and have been working hard to get back some form,” Hend said.
“It was nice to win in Malaysia and prove to myself that hard work is worth the troubles and sacrifices.”
The Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship continues to be part of The Open Qualifying Series for the third consecutive year. Like the last two years, two spots will be awarded to the leading two players (not otherwise exempt) finishing in the top-eight and ties in the event.
The Kolon Korea Open Golf Championship, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Korea Golf Association (KGA), is the second of the three Asian Tour events to be played in Korea this year.