Scott Hend came from six-shots behind to win the inaugural Chiangmai Classic by three strokes, carding a final-round eight-under-par 64.
Hend earned his third Asian Tour title at the Alpine Golf Resort-Chiangmai, taking home the winner’s cheque of US$135,000 with his four-day total of 20-under-par 268.
South African newcomer Bryce Easton, playing in his first Asian Tour event, also shot a 64 to take second place overnight leader Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand, settled for third on 272 after hitting a poor 74.
China’s Hu Mu continued his good progress, finishing fourth with a 68, while Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, who needed to win to have a chance of qualifying for the Masters Tournament in two weeks, settled tied 10th.
“To be honest, I didn’t think I had a chance to win,” Hend, 40, said according to a statement released by organisers.
“I was just looking for a solid top-five finish. Obviously it all fell together and I played quite well. Unfortunately for the other guys, they didn’t quite keep the pace going which was good for me,” he added.
It was a disappointing tournament for four-time major winner Ernie Els, who switched to his favoured belly putter after three days with the short stick, and finished tied 14th in the $750,000 Asian Tour tournament.
But the British Open champion, who is the process of phasing out his belly putter owing to an impending ban on anchored putting, insisted he was in good shape for the upcoming Master’s tournament.
“I came here to get my swing under control, which I think it did. The short game is not too bad, everything is kind of there. It’s just the confidence search now,” said Els.
The South African star said he will use the belly putter at the Masters but will switch to the conventional stick leading up to the U.S. Open in June.
Top scores after round 4 of the Chiangmai Golf Classic (par 72):
268 – Scott Hend (AUS) 68-69-67-64.
271 – Bryce Easton (RSA) 68-67-72-64.
272 – Prayad Marksaeng (THA) 65-67-66-74.
273 – Hu Mu (CHN) 66-69-70-68.
276 – Ernie Els (RSA) 69-71-66-70