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VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - Scott Hend came close to punching two drunk fans who heckled him as the Australian was plotting his way to the top of the BMW PGA Championship leaderboard, he said on Saturday.
Hend featured in the last two-ball of the third round at Wentworth with home favorite, U.S. Masters winner Danny Willett of England.
"Danny was getting all the crowd support and I had no problem with that but there were a couple of guys out there who were really over the top and it wasn't very nice what they were saying," the 43-year-old told reporters.
"It was quite rude and personal and if it was up to me I would have had them thrown out.
"It's not Danny's fault but we are all out here playing golf and it's not fair being drunk and being smart arses as these two guys were," added Hend, winner of the European Tour's Thailand Classic in March.
"Danny and I are mates. I've played with him before and he wants me to do well and I want him to do well but when you get hecklers in the crowd saying pretty rude things as they were, I was ready to punch them."
Most of the heckling came toward the end of the round, said Hend after a closing eagle gave him a one-over 73 and a nine-under aggregate of 207, one ahead of England's Tyrrell Hatton.
Willett slid down the field after ballooning to a back-nine 41 that gave him a 76 and a total of 210.
"I didn't see any marshals around but when I mentioned to Danny I was going over to speak to them (the hecklers) he was just waiting for it all to kickoff," Hend said.
"Danny was just waiting for me to punch one of the guys in the mouth. He had been hurling abuse at me before I hit my first putt at 14 and just wouldn't shut up from there on."
Hend has won twice on the European Tour, his other victory coming at the 2014 Hong Kong Open.
Editing by Ed Osmond