(Reuters) – Australia’s Scott Hend put his hand up for Presidents Cup selection after firing a six-under-par 66 to grab a share of the lead after the second round of the Fiji International on Friday.
The 44-year-old, who missed the cut at the PGA Championship, is in a four-way tie on seven-under with New Zealand’s overnight leader Daniel Pearce, South Australian Jason Norris and Malaysia’s Gavin Green at the Natadola Bay Golf Course.
The reigning Asian Tour of Merit winner’s round got off to a flying start when he drained a 70-foot putt for eagle on the par-five first and rolled in three more birdies before the turn.
Hend then added two more birdies on the back nine but missed out on the outright lead after making his only bogey of the round on the 17th at the European Tour event, co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia.
Hend tied for 10th at the recent WGC-Bridgestone event but will need a captain’s pick from Nick Price if he is to represent the International team against the United States at the Presidents Cup in New Jersey from Sept. 28-Oct. 1.
“There is nothing more I would like than to be on a Presidents Cup team this year,” Hend said on Friday.
“With that in mind, there are no two ways about it, I have to perform, if I don’t perform I won’t get picked.
“There is nothing to hide, there is nothing to be scared about, I want to play in a Presidents Cup and I need to perform.”
A good performance in Fiji will not hurt Hend’s chances, particularly with former U.S. Masters champion Mike Weir in the field. Canadian Weir, one of International skipper Price’s assistants, shot a 71 to be one-under, six behind the leaders.
Local favorite and former world number one Vijay Singh, who has been troubled by an elbow injury, was also on one-under after shooting an even-par 72, having grinded through nine consecutive pars after the turn.
Argentina’s twice major champion Angel Cabrera found his groove with four birdies on the back nine to shoot a 69 and be within four of the leaders on three-under.
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford