Hong Kong, December 11: Scott Hend secured the prestigious Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown at the season-ending UBS Hong Kong Open on Sunday, becoming the first Australian to win the title and the fourth player to surpass US$1 million in earnings during a season.
The 43-year-old Hend won twice at the True Thailand Classic and Queen’s Cup, also in Thailand, and finished top-10 on three other occasions including a runner-up outing at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland during a memorable 2016 campaign.
“It’s quite special. Obviously winning any Order of Merit anywhere is very special, and this will stay with me forever,” said Hend after he carded a closing four-over-par 74 on Sunday, to increase his season haul to US$1,004,792.
“It’s just a culmination of a lot of years on the Asian Tour and coming so close and not getting over the line; it’s finally nice to reach the top and grab the trophy.”
Hend’s only rival for the Merit crown, Marcus Fraser, needed to win the US$2 million UBS Hong Kong Open to have any chance of winning top spot but he failed to do so at the Hong Kong Golf Club, signing off with a closing 66.
A disappointing campaign in the World Golf Championships event in Doral at the start of the year proved to be the spark that Hend needed to get his 2016 season going as he returned to Asia the following week and won in Thailand.
“It’s a bit of a funny start to the year because I played in Doral, was 22-over par for four rounds and we came to Thailand and all of a sudden, the following week I was 18-under,” he recalled.
“I just managed to level it off and play really solid during the middle of the year and fortunately enough for me, I won a couple tournaments and I came in a couple top fives. So it was quite nice.
“It’s been a great year. I only missed out on one goal and that was obviously to get top-50 in the world and play the Masters next year. It was a hard task; I had to come second here or I had to win. All in all, it’s a very good year.”
India’s Jeev Milkha Singh was the first to hit the seven-figure mark in Asia where he earned US$1.45 million in 2008 while Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand won US$1.12 million in 2013 and 2015 Merit champion Anirban Lahiri accumulated US$1.13 million last season.
In what is his 10th season on the Asian Tour, Hend has capped a truly impressive career on the region’s premier circuit with nine victories. He also finished runner-up on the Order of Merit twice in 2013 and 2014 and was fourth on three other occasions in 2007, 2009 and 2014, indicating his consistency in his game.
By far, Hend, one of the longest drivers on Tour, is also the most successful international golfer on the Asian Tour and has won eight tournaments over the last five years, the most by any player in Asia during the same time.
He also enjoyed the honour of representing Australia alongside Fraser at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August when golf made a welcome return into the programme following a lapse of over 100 years.
Despite his success, he vowed to work even harder to keep up his success rate. Hend said: “I’m going to restart in Abu Dhabi. I’ve got four weeks off. I’ve got to get in the gym for four weeks and try to strengthen these old muscles and get them firing again.”
About UBS Group AG
UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. The operational structure of the Group is comprised of our Corporate Center and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank. UBS’s strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates, in order to generate attractive and sustainable returns for its shareholders. All of its businesses are capital-efficient and benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets.
UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in 54 countries, with about 34% of its employees working in the Americas, 35% in Switzerland, 18% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 13% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs approximately 60,000 people around the world. Its shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). www.ubs.com
About Mega Events Fund
This year the “UBS Hong Kong Open” is sponsored by the Mega Events Fund of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. The Fund was set up in 2009 to support mega arts, cultural, sports and entertainment events to be staged in Hong Kong. With the approval from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council, the operation of the Fund has been extended for five years until the end of March 2017 with a view to attracting more internationally acclaimed mega events to Hong Kong and reinforcing Hong Kong’s position as the events capital of Asia.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Hilton Worldwide (Official Hotel Partner), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Sponsor), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official Business Publication Sponsor) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). Sentosa, Singapore is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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About The European Tour
The European Tour celebrates men’s professional golf on a global stage. In 2016, the European Tour International Schedule features 47 tournaments in 27 countries, all part of the Race to Dubai, the year-long competition which crowns the European Tour Number One at the end of the season, a title claimed in 2015 by Rory McIlroy for the third time.
Since its formation in 1972, the European Tour has witnessed 25 Members celebrate a total of 51 Major Championship titles between them, enjoyed ten Members attaining the pinnacle of World Number One and has celebrated its diversity as players from 36 different countries have won on Tour. The European Tour also manages the Challenge Tour, which features 28 tournaments in 22 countries in 2016, and the Senior Tour, which features 13 tournaments in nine countries in 2016. It is also the Managing Partner of Ryder Cup Europe, the body which, alongside the PGA of America, administers golf’s greatest team contest, The Ryder Cup. The European Tour broadcasts live coverage of its tournaments to over 490 million homes in more than 150 countries every week, generating in excess of 2200 global broadcast hours for each event. It also enjoys the support of many of the world’s leading business brands with Rolex, BMW, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Emirates and Titleist as Official Partners.