Big-hitting Aussie joins the field

Big-hitting Scott Hend will join the field at the 2014 New Zealand Open near Arrowtown. Photo by Bruce Young.
Big-hitting Scott Hend will join the field at the 2014 New Zealand Open near Arrowtown. Photo by Bruce Young.
Scott Hend, a former USPGA Tour player and one of the most successful players on the Asian Tour, says he is looking forward to joining the 2014 New Zealand Open field.

Queensland-born, Florida-based Hend will play in the New Zealand Open after completing his best season to date, finishing runner-up on the Asian Tour Money List with earnings of $750,000.

Hend has had five victories on the Asian Tour, including three wins in 2013, at the Chiangmai Golf Classic, the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and the Venetian Macau Open. During his professional career he has also won six other tournaments around the world.

Ranked No 139 in the world, Hend competed in the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this month, on the European tour, and he will follow the New Zealand Open with an appearance in the prestigious WCG Cadillac Championship in Doral, Florida.

Since turning pro in 1998, Hend has travelled the world and enjoyed status on the PGA, Web.com, European, Asian and Australasian Tours.

After he competed in the US PGA Tour from 2004 to 2006, a serious hand injury in 2006 threatened his career as a professional golfer.

However, the big-hitting Australian bounced back, switched his focus to the Asian Tour and was named Rookie of the Year, finishing third on the Asian Tour Order of Merit in his first year on that tour.

Hend's driving distance is one of the most talked about areas of his game.

Ranked number one in driving distance on the Asian Tour in 2013, the big hitter records an average driving distance of 309.6 yards (283m).

On the USPGA Tour in 2005, he was ranked number one in driving distance, ahead of Tiger Woods.

Hend said in a statement he was looking forward to mixing with some of the sporting figures and other celebrities during the pro-am phase of the New Zealand Open and the chance to play Millbrook and The Hills courses at Arrowtown again.

''It should be fun. It's always great to play with other people who are good at what they do,'' Hend said.

''Queenstown is one of the most beautiful places I have been to in the world.

''I love the courses there and really wanted to get back to play there again.''