Big-hitting Hend drives ahead in Thailand

Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:30am EST
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(Reuters) - Big-hitting Australian Scott Hend carded a six-under-par 66 in the third round to take a one-stroke lead in the Thailand Classic on Saturday.

Hend, the winner of the Driving Distance category on four occasions since 2009, took his total to 15-under, one ahead of Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez (69) and three-times Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Thongchai Jaidee (67) of Thailand.

Another local hope Kiradech Aphibarnrat posted a 70 to be at fourth spot in the $2 million tournament, co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.

Hend made birdies on the second and seventh holes but his game went up a gear after making the turn at the Black Mountain Golf Club.

He added another shot on the 10th, sunk an eagle three on the 609-yards 13th and picked up further gains on the 15th and 17th before giving up one on the last for his day's only blemish.

"It was a good round and puts me in a good position," Hend said. "I played very solidly and putted quite well. I only made one mistake so it was pretty good.

"This is where you want to be, in the last group on a Sunday. I'll be playing with Thongchai again and Miguel so it'll be a good little test tomorrow."

Overnight leader Jimenez stayed in the hunt with a spotless round of 69.

"I'm playing well and hitting it well," the 51-year-old said. "I missed a few putts but I'm creating lots of chances.   Continued...

Scott Hend of Australia hits from a bunker on the second hole during the second round of the Australian Open golf tournament at the New South Wales golf course in Sydney December 4, 2009. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz