Scott Hend leads European Masters in Switzerland, but his mind is on Florida and Hurricane Irma

September 08, 2017

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A playoff loss to Alex Noren at last year’s Omega European Masters lured Scott Hend back to Switzerland’s Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, where you need to go low if you want to have any shot at a title. And that’s what Hend has done, backing up a first-round 64 with a second-round 63—including four birdies on his last five holes—to take a one-stroke lead over Darren Fichardt into the weekend.

Hend hit all 18 greens in regulation on Friday despite the fact that his focus wasn’t entirely on the tournament at hand. Indeed, you’ll forgive the 44-year-old Australian, and his wife, Leanne, who is caddieing for him this week, from being a bit distracted. While the two are in Europe, they’re two children are back in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., bracing for the pending arrival of Hurricane Irma.

“We’re a bit worried about the kids in Florida with the sitter at the moment,” he said. “We’ve been up late at night trying to find out contingency plans. I think they’re going to get out of there. It’s not worth the risk.”

While having membership on the European Tour, Hend is also in the midst of trying to see if he can win back a PGA Tour card through the Tour Finals Series. Hend managed to qualify by virtue of his play in a handful of WGC events in 2017, including a T-10 finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August, earning him enough FedEx Cup points as a non-member to get into in the Finals.

Last week he finished T-41 at the Nationwide Chilrdren’s Hospital Open in Columbus, Ohio. After his time in Switzerland, he and his wife will fly back to the U.S. and play in the Albertsons Boise Open and the DAP Championship, but plan at this point on skipping the Tour Championship to return to Europe and play in the British Masters in England followed by the Alfred Dunhill Links at St. Andrews.

Globetrotting seems to be Hend’s specialty. In a little more than the past year, Hend has played in 23 different countries on six different continents.

“Some of the European Tour guys refer to me as that [George] Clooney character [from the movie Up In The Air],” Hend said recently, regarding the millions of frequent flyer miles he’s accumulated during his career. “It’s the career of travel you chose with golf and you hope it pays off in the end to make a very good living for your family.”