Hend and Fraser go close as Appleby opens with a birdie blitz: Weekend roundup

Scott Hend 595

A NUMBER of Aussies went close on the international golfing scene on the weekend but nowhere, apart from at the new PNG Open, did any of them get the biscuit.

Scott Hend (pictured) shot a closing 6-under 66 at the European Tour’s Shenzhen International in China but that ended up being three strokes shy of eventual winner Soomin Lee of South Korea.

Hend’s final round equalled the best of the day – matching tournament showcard Bubba Watson (T8) – and saw him finish tied for fourth after the completion of the tournament was delayed till Monday morning.

The tour stays in China this week for the Volvo China Open in Beijing.

On the US PGA TOUR Stuart Appleby finished his opening round at the Texas Valero Open with five straight birdies to be 5-under and just one off the lead overnight.

Rounds of 70-74-71 followed for the Aussie veteran to finish on 6-under tied for 21st.

The event was won by a very happy Charlie Hoffman (69) on 12-under who pipped Patrick Reed (69) by a stroke.

Helped by a third round 66, Aaron Baddely (74) finished at 4-under tied for 29th.

The 39 year old Hoffman was delighted with what was his fourth tour win after repeatedly going close off late – and a number of times at this event – without being able to close it out. You can see his vigorous reaction after sinking a 10 foot birdie putt to win in the video below.

Hoffman’s dramatic Texas Open victory: Video

On the Asian Tour Marcus Fraser continued his stranglehold on the Order of Merit despite having to settle for a runner-up finish at the Panasonic Open Golf Championship.

Japan’s Yuta Ikeda held off strong late challenges from Fraser and KT Kim to win the inaugural staging of the event in Tokyo.

“The Order of Merit is always on the back of your mind and to come out here to finish tied second is a great confidence booster,” Fraser said.

“I wasn’t expecting much when I came here but I just wanted to put another number up for the Order of Merit.”

After her second LPGA win last week Australia’s Minjee Lee was again threatening in the opening rounds of the Swing Skirts Classic in San Francisco.

The 19 year old shot a 7-under 65 in the second round but couldn’t go on with it on the weekend.

She finished tied for 11th on even with the current Australian Open champion, Japan’s Haru Nomura, claiming her second LPGA title by four strokes from South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace.

On the PGA Tour of Australasia South Australian Brad Moules won the South Pacific Export Radler PNG Open following a two-hole playoff.

Moules, who lead after the first day, fired 5-under 67 in the final round to be the clubhouse leader on 11-under the card.

“I was playing well all week, even pars in the second and third rounds didn’t get it done but today the putts fell and 5-under was pretty good out there I think,” said Moules.

The win is a huge boost for Moules’ fledgling career after completed a PGA Traineeship at Royal Adelaide Golf Club. He will now have a place in all the Tour’s biggest events including the European Tour co-sanctioned Australian PGA Championship and Fiji International.

“It’s amazing, first year on Tour, only six starts in and I have got the first win out of the way. I am rapt,” he said.

“It definitely will put me into the big events, if I had of finished runner-up I would still be trying to get a start on Qualifying School status.”

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