The 28-year-old carded a final-round 7-under 63 for a 72-hole total of 17-under 263, three shots in front of David Hearn (Brantford, ON), Rich Massey (Harrington Park, N.J.) and Michael Harris (Troy, Mich.). David McKenzie (Australia) ended up four shots back. Hend, McKenzie, Harris, Michael Henderson and Jason Schultz all fired 63 Sunday, one shot shy of the Uplands GC course record.
For Hend, it will be a week to remember. Just four days after marrying his fiance of six years, Leanne, in front of the B.C. Legislature, Hend put the finishing touches on his initial Tour triumph. Two months ago, he carried the lead into the final round of the Myrtle Beach Barefoot Championship, eventually finishing second to Canadian Derek Gillespie. Hend was also involved in the marathon six-man playoff at the TELUS Vancouver Open last summer, which Steve Scott eventually won, and placed third at the South Carolina Challenge.
This is awesome, Im up there somewhere right now, said Hend, pointing towards the sky. Getting married to Leanne, winning my first Canadian Tour event, this is something I will never forget. I told Leanne earlier in the week I was going to try to do something special. I just feel at ease with everything right now- golf, my life, just the way things are going.
Beginning the day one shot behind Massey, Hend fell two shots back when Massey birdied the first hole. Hend grabbed a share of the lead just before the duo made the turn, and sank a downhill 30-foot par putt on 14 to maintain a one-shot edge. Trailing Hend by two walking up the final fairway, Massey, who also finished second at the Grant Forest Products/NRCS Classic last summer, nearly sent the crowd of more than 2,500 into a frenzy when his approach shot nearly dropped into the cup for eagle. Hend ended any drama when he drained his ten-foot birdie putt for the win. Massey then two-putted for par, missing a chance to wind up alone in second.
It felt like Rich and I were matching each other shot for shot, we traded birdies all day long, added Hend, who took home $15,754. Thats the way you want to win a golf tournament. The crowd has us all charged up, and we fed off that.
Massey thought he had a chance for his first Tour win, but admitted Hend stepped up his game over the final few holes and took advantage of a hot putter when it mattered most.
Scott made some big putts coming in and I didnt, and thats why he came out on top, said Massey. But I looked at Scott on 11 and told him, This is what it is all about. But I gave it my best and thats all I could do. It was gut-check time, and the better man won today.
Hearn added another highlight to what has already been an impressive rookie campaign. With his final-round 64, Hearn garnered his second runner-up showing, and his fourth result in the top ten, virtually assuring him of Canadian Rookie Of The Year honours.
I had more opportunities today then Ive had in a long time, admitted the member of Canadas 2001 Four Nations Cup team. My goal was to get to 14-under, and I did that. But hand it to Scott, he got the job done. I think Ive shown I can compete out here every week, I am going to keep trying to get that first win before the year is done.
The Canadian Tour now moves into Edmonton for this weeks TELUS Edmonton Open.