Ernie Els (Getty Images)
Ernie Els recorded a top-three finish as Australian Scott Hend hit the jackpot for the third time this season with a commanding three stroke victory at the Venetian Macau Open on Sunday.
With an overnight four shot lead, the big-hitting Hend comfortably held off the chasing pack at the Macau Golf and Country Club, closing with a four under par 67 to for a 16 under par 268 total to add to his triumphs in Chiangmai and Taipei this year.
India’s Anirban Lahiri matched the course record with a blistering nine under par 62 for second place while four-time Major Champion Els of South Africa shared third with Elmer Salvador of the Philippines after a 67 and 66 respectively.
“Ernie is one of the best players in the world,” said Hend. “I had my own goals and targets and I achieved my goal which was to stay patient, patient, patient. In the first four holes, I didn’t make any birdies. Ernie started to put some heat on me and all of the sudden, I hit a great shot on the fifth for birdie there. It was all about being patient.”
Els, who turned 44 on Thursday, applied the pressure early on with birdies on two, three and six but a bogey on nine halted his momentum.
“It was very frustrating,” he said. “I started off nicely again and then made a soft bogey on nine. I couldn’t afford any mistakes.
“I needed to keep the pedal on the metal but I made that mistake and I didn’t play the back nine all that well either. Tough weekend but I think Scott was very strong.”