Most PGA Tour fans aren’t familiar with this 34-year-old Aussie. That’s too bad, because he’s quietly had a stellar season on the European Tour. Even with missed cuts in his last two starts, Hend is 16-of-24 in cuts made in 2017 with three top-10s.
Hend nearly walked away with a win last month at the Omega European Masters before Matthew Fitzpatrick surged with a Sunday 64 and beat Hend in a playoff.
The CIMB Classic has been one of Hend’s more successful events. He shook off an opening round 74 to close with three rounds in the 60s, including a 63, to post the best score over the last 54 holes on the way to a T7. In years prior at TPC Kuala Lumpur, Hend went T40 in 2013 and T27 in 2015 at the CIMB Classic. He tied for 14th at the 2015 Maybank Malaysian Open. Thirteen of his 16 rounds at this course have been at par or better.
Hend is one of the longer hitters in the field this week at No. 15 on the European Tour driving distance chart. That may not be as big of an advantage this week as in others, but his strength on the par-5s and above average putting (56th putts per round) could help him keep pace in what will be a birdiefest under soft conditions expected with rain in the forecast.