Hensby in daz­zling come­back from ban

NT News - - SPORT -

MARK Hensby has made a spec­tac­u­lar re­turn to com­pet­i­tive golf with a siz­zling sec­ond round at the NSW Open in Syd­ney.

The for­mer US PGA Tour win­ner, pic­tured, is con­test­ing his first event since re­turn­ing from a year-long sus­pen­sion for fail­ing to pro­vide a urine sam­ple fol­low­ing the open­ing round of the 2017 San­der­son Farms Cham­pi­onship in Mis­sis­sippi. Af­ter con­ced­ing he made an “er­ror in judg­ment” that “had noth­ing to do with tak­ing a banned sub­stance”, Hensby cashed in on a last­minute en­try to the Open with a siz­zling eight-un­der-par round of 64 yes­ter­day.

Hensby’s round, fea­tur­ing seven birdies and an ea­gle three at the par-5 11th, earned the 48-yearold the club­house lead.

Af­ter tak­ing a bo­gey on the fourth, he stormed home in eight un­der for his last 14 holes to en­sure he not only made the half­way cut but also vaulted him­self into ti­tle con­tention and qual­i­fi­ca­tion for next week’s Aus­tralian Open at The Lakes.

Once en­trenched in the world’s top 30, Hensby is now ranked No.1918 fol­low­ing his ban.

But the Tam­worth-born star main­tains he skipped the manda­tory dop­ing test merely in “a mo­ment of anger and frus­tra­tion”, think­ing “it was just time to re­tire from golf” af­ter a first-round 78 in Mis­sis­sippi left him fac­ing an­other missed cut.

“For quite a long time I felt like I wouldn’t ever play again,” Hensby said at Twin Creeks.

“Then I was back in Aus­tralia vis­it­ing fam­ily in the mid­dle of the year and I went for a hit and re­ally en­joyed it.

“That’s when I started think­ing maybe I might give it an­other go.

“And the last four months I’ve re­ally put the work in to try to get back.”

Pic­ture: RICHARD GOSLING

Matt Poole has high hopes of a good show­ing in this year’s Nutri-Grain Iron­man se­ries

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