Scott Hend claimed his third European Tour victory after beating Nacho Elvira in a play-off to win the Maybank Championship
Between a lengthy weather delay on the final hole and a monster putt from Nacho Elvira to force a play-off, the Maybank Championship was dramatic until the end.
Elvira began the day three shots clear at the top of the leaderboard, but a fast start from Hend put him on the front foot.
The 45-year-old, who hadn’t won a title since 2016, birdied the opening hole and added four more over the front nine to get to the turn one shot clear of Elvira, who had a solitary birdie on the par-four sixth.
Both men dropped shots on the 10th but Hend would go two shots clear after a birdie on the par-five 13th, although Elvira was far from out of it.
The Spaniard made a birdie of his own on the par-three 16th to half the defecit, and knew he was in need of something special. It looked to be all over though, as a huge clap of thunder sounded in the middle of his backswing on the 18th fairway, and left him with 30 feet for birdie.
Play was suspended for an hour and twenty minutes, and when the players came back, it seemed likely Hend would two putt for par, and victory. He did get the par, but Elvira created the drama with the most unlikely of birdies to force a playoff.
“What a putt by Nacho,” said Hend. “If I was to go out there and hit that putt you would say you would hole it one in ten times. It was an amazing putt, and in the situation he holed it. All credit to Nacho, it was fantastic.
“I had to get off to a fast start as I was three shots behind. That’s all there was to it. I was fortunate enough to turn in five under and on the back nine I shot level par. I can’t ask for much more on a Sunday when the golf course is playing quite tricky.
“I felt like I played fantastic on the back nine. I nearly holed a lot of putts, just missing. I just had to keep my head on and stay patient, stay in there. The worst case scenario was a play-off.”
As for the play-off, luck was on the side of the Australian. The two men played the par-five first hole, which was a hole both had birdie three out of four rounds during the Championship.
Hend got a lucky break when his tee shot at the first extra hole hit the base of a tree and landed on the fairway, while Elvira’s ball went straight into a fairway bunker. Hend would end up with the birdie, and victory, while Elvira had to settle for par and his second consecutive runner-up finish on Tour.
“I’m a grinder and a fighter,” Hend said. “So is my caddie Tony. We both have the same mental attitude. It doesn’t matter how old we are, we work hard at what we do. It just takes a bit of luck to win.
“Obviously I had a bit of luck on the play-off hole. If you don’t have any luck you won’t win. I had the luck today, unfortunately for Nacho. His time will come, he’s going to win. He’s a great player.”