Queenslander 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.
“What a putt by Nacho,” Hend would later remark. “If I was to go out there and hit that putt, you would say you would hole it one in 10 times. It was an amazing putt, and in the situation he holed it. All credit to Nacho, it was fantastic.”
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.
RIGHT: Nacho Elvira celebrates after holing a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to force a playoff. PHOTO: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
The 45-year-old Hend hit another tree with his second shot and went into the greenside bunker. He then 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.
“I'm a grinder and a fighter, so is my caddie, Tony,” Hend said. “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.”
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.