The 47-year-old Queenslander had cut a dispirited figure at Karen Country Club on Sunday when, going into the last round of the Open joint-second and just two shots down on leader Justin Harding, he finished with a hugely disappointing 73 and joint-16th overall.

After a quick turnaround, though, Hend was given a swift chance to make amends in Tuesday's opening round of another European Tour event and he reverted to his excellent form of earlier last week as he shot a five-under-par 66.

It left him just two off the lead, which was again held jointly by the eventual Open winner Harding, who carded eight birdies and a single bogey in his 64, along with Spain's Alejandro Canizares, Netherlands' Joost Luiten and France's Clement Sordet.

On a course giving away birdies liberally, eight players recorded 65s to lie a shot off the lead while Hend recorded five birdies in his near-flawless round, although a dozen others also went round in 66.

The other Australian competitor Maverick Antcliff was in the mix too, shooting a four-under 67.

"We are playing the same golf course so my strategy stays the same, front foot forward and see if we can keep doing what we were doing last week," South African Harding said as he eyed the wholly unlikely feat of winning in successive weeks on the same course.

"It's always easy when you're playing well – don't ask me where it came from. I'm playing solid and finally rolling a couple of putts in."