Tournament golf is hard enough as it is, which is why you'll often see tour pros try just about anything to gain even the slightest advantage. Usually, it's by using the rules in their favor, but in the case of Australia's Scott Hend on Saturday at the Maybank Championship, it was a manmade object that he benefitted from.
Hend, who had just birdied the par-3 17th to get to five under on the day, hit his second shot at Saujana Golf & Country Club's par-5 18th well right and into some trees, leaving him with a tricky third shot into the green. With the pin in a position where he'd need to hit a high shot to get close, Hend was in trouble, because a lofted shot likely would have clipped some tree branches and/or possibly come up short in the bunker. He had to go low, which gave him no chance of getting the ball close. Or so we thought.
The two-time European Tour winner got very creative, pulling out a low iron and hitting a line-drive punch that caromed off the grandstand like a baseball off the right field wall. The ball rolled back toward the pin and set up an easy two-putt par. Check it out:
Judging by Hend's cheeky reaction, this was absolutely planned, something Hend confirmed on Twitter when asked:
As you heard one of the announcers say, players had been practicing this shot earlier in the week, but to see it done in tournament play and executed as well as Hend executed it is pretty wild.
Hend's par capped off a third-round 67 that vaulted him up the leader board into a tie for fourth at 10 under. He'll begin his final round on Sunday in Malaysia three back of Spain's Nacho Elvira. If he can catch him, Hend could win for the first time since the True Thailand Classic in March of 2016. We're guessing he'll remember this bold play for a long time if he's able to pull off the comeback.