Simon Yates chalks up first European Tour top 10 in nine years

Picture: Getty
Picture: Getty
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Simon Yates chalked up a first European Tour top-10 finish in nearly nine years as Scott Hend made amends for tasting a dose of disappoinment in the same event last year to win the True Thailand Classic.

Hend, a 43-year-old Australian, carded a closing 68 at Black Mountain Golf Club in Hua Hin to finish with an 18-under-par 270 total, one shot ahead of home hope Piya Swangarunporn, who had surged through the field with a course-record 63.

The success, his second on the European Tour, was redemption for Hend, who’d also held the lead after 54 holes in this tournament 13 months ago before finishing second to one of his compatriots, Andrew Dodt.

“Last week I did not really have any patience and this week I just hung in there,” said Hend, who only arrived in Thailand at 1am on Wednesday after making the long journey from Miami, where he shot 22 over par to finish 63rd in the 66-man field in the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

“If I did make a mistake I didn’t get upset about it and just rolled with the punches.

“For Piya to shoot nine under was an amazing score out there, he has obviously played extremely well, but I knew I just had to cruise along and do what I do best and that’s get in position and make birdies.

“Last year I pushed too hard and it hurt me on 17 (where he made bogey) and I ended up losing by a shot. This year I just sat back and let the golf course come to me and I’m lucky enough to be here with the trophy. It’s bloody awesome.”

Yates, who has based in Thailand for just over 20 years and currently lives 50 yards from the 10th tee on this course, finished joint-seventh on 11-under after signing off with a 70.

It was his best effort on the European Tour since finishing third in the BMW Asian Open in 2007, the same year he tied for seventh in the Maybank Malaysian Open. The majority of his 70-odd appearances on the circuit have come in co-sanctioned events with the Asian Tour, where he’s a two-time winner.

This effort earned Yates, a Glaswegian who had a spell at Royal Burgess before following Kenny Walker, one of the Barnton club’s most successful players, out to the Far East, a pay-day worth close to £32,000.

Five shots behind Hend at the start of the final round, Yates made an early thrust with three birdies in the opening four holes before seeing his momentum halted by a bogey at the fifth. He parred every hole thereafter.

Marc Warren’s closing 72 for an eight-under total earned him a share of 19th spot while Scott Jamieson ended up joint-35th on six-under following a closing 70. “There was quite a lot of good stuff, but it was pretty frustrating making quite a few bogeys with short irons and not holing many putts over the week,” said Warren on his performance.

Elsewhere, Carly Booth and Kylie Walker both signed off with 69s - their best efforts of the week - to finish alongside each other in joint-37th in the Women’s World Championship at Mission Hills in China. Pamela Pretswell (72) ended up joint-55th, though it was a good effort in making it the distance after she’d opened with a 78.

In a tournament dominated by South Koreans, world No 35 Lee Jung-Min claimed her eighth career title with a one-stroke victory over compatriots Lee Seung-Hyun, Kim Bo-Kyung and Ji Han Sol. A final-round 66 for a nine-under-par 279 total was just enough for Lee to hold on as her closest challengers all blew their chances in damp and testing conditions on the Olazabal Course.