GULLANE, Scotland – The tournament within the $7 million Aberdeen Standard Investment Scottish Open is almost as compelling as the real thing.
Ask Australia’s Scott Hend. He’s hoping to finish in the top 10 to win one of the three huge prizes in the tournament within the tournament. Of course, that’s if he doesn’t happen to win the first-place prize of $1.16 million.
A top-10 finish could earn the long hitting Australian a place in next week’s Open Championship. The best three players in the top 10 at the conclusion of the Scottish Open book places for Carnoustie. Hend’s 7-under-63 moved him to 12 under early in round three and into a tie for the lead.
“I think by the end of the day it should be somewhere around just inside the top 10, so a good opportunity to get to The Open next week,” Hend admitted.
The Australian has to get past a lot of strong contenders for an Open spot. England’s Eddie Pepperell, Marcel Siem of Germany, former Masters winner Trevor Immelman, in-form Swede Joakim Lagergren, Texas alum Brandon Stone and 36-hole leader Robert Rock are all looking for top-10 finishes to try to get into the Open Championship.
Hend might be in the best mindset to take on the challenge of Carnoustie since he’s loving the challenge of Gullane Golf Club.
“It’s awesome,” Hend said about the 7,110 yard, par-70 layout. “It does your head in. That’s the best thing about it, it’s so good. It’s not boring, down the middle, do whatever. There’s a bit of this, a bit of that, try not to hit yourself (while coming) of the bunker. It’s all good fun.”
The perfect attitude for next week on probably the hardest course on the Open rota.