Hend, who lost a play-off to Sweden’s Alex Noren at Crans-sur-Sierre 12 months ago, carded an eagle and five birdies in a second round of 63 to finish 13 under par, a shot ahead of South Africa’s Darren Fichardt.
“It would be nice to putt a little bit better but, when you walk off with 63, it’s fantastic,” said Hend, whose children and their nanny are set to evacuate their Florida home to avoid Hurricane Irma.
“I feel like I’ve been playing really well for the last four months and really wanted to get in the Presidents Cup team. I didn’t quite make it there which was a bit of a disappointment and I feel like I have a point to prove to myself that I’m good enough to mix it with those boys.”
Fichardt carded a 64 to lie three strokes ahead of Thongchai Jaidee, Todd Sinnott and Fabrizio Zanotti, with England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick alongside Ryan Fox and Julian Suri on eight under after a 65.
Stephen Gallacher also fired a 65 to finish the day as the top Scot on seven under, a shot ahead of compatriot David Drysdale.
Lee Slattery, who watched his wife Faye give birth to the couple’s second child Penelope via FaceTime earlier this week, improved 13 shots on his opening 75 with a brilliant 62 to finish three under.
Defending champion Noren was alongside Slattery after a 67, while the same score ensured Lee Westwood made the cut in his 500th European Tour start on two under.