Hend goes top after stun­ning 63

Aus­tralian look­ing to go one bet­ter than last year at Crans Mon­tana

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

Aus­tralia’s Scott Hend is in pole po­si­tion to go one bet­ter than last year after tak­ing the half­way lead in the Omega Euro­pean Mas­ters.

Hend, who lost a play­off to Swe­den’s Alex Noren at Crans-sur-Sierre 12 months ago, carded an ea­gle and five birdies in a sec­ond round of 63 to fin­ish 13 un­der par, a shot ahead of South Africa’s Dar­ren Fichardt.

“It would be nice to putt a lit­tle bit bet­ter but when you walk off with 63 it’s fan­tas­tic,” said Hend, whose children and their nanny are set to evac­u­ate their Florida home to avoid the pos­si­ble land­fall of Hur­ri­cane Irma.

“I feel like I’ve been play­ing re­ally well for the last four months and re­ally wanted to get in the Pres­i­dents Cup team.

“I didn’t quite make it there which was a bit of a dis­ap­point­ment and I feel like I have a point to prove to my­self that I’m good enough to mix it with those boys.”

Fichardt recorded four birdies and an ea­gle in a 64 which left him three strokes ahead of Thongchai Jaidee, Todd Sin­nott and Fabrizio Zan­otti, with Eng­land’s Matthew Fitz­patrick along­side Ryan Fox and Ju­lian Suri on eight un­der fol­low­ing a 65.

Lee Slat­tery, who watched his wife Faye give birth to the cou­ple’s sec­ond child Pene­lope via FaceTime ear­lier this week, im­proved 13 shots on his open­ing 75 with a bril­liant 62 to fin­ish three un­der.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Alex Noren was along­side Slat­tery on three un­der after a 67.

Ire­land’s Paul Dunne made the cut right on the mark after a one-over 71 dropped him back to level par for the tour­na­ment.

Aus­tralia’s Scott Hend: lost a play­off to Swe­den’s Alex Noren at Crans last year

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