A small scar may be the key to achieving a big dream for Scott Hend. Hend, who represented Australia at the Rio Olympics earlier this year, is targeting a win at the Australian PGA Championship at RACV Royal Pines Resort on Queensland's Gold Coast as he attempts to break into the world top-50 by the end of the year.
The end game is a debut at The Masters next year, a tournament he has long coveted but thus far failed to experience.
"I'm really, really hoping that I can somehow secure top-50 in the world after this week and the Hong Kong Open next week so I can finally get to tee it up in the US Masters, which has always been a dream of mine since I was a young boy," Hend said.
"From there, who knows. Obviously, every year I seem to be getting a little bit better in certain areas of my game and certain areas mentally.
"I might be a guy that has his best year when he's 50, who knows. Personally I thought I should have won four of five times this year. I managed to win twice - can't be disappointed in that.
"The difference is I guess I would like to be playing on the US Tour and be fully exempt there. The clock is ticking - I am 43 now.
"So there is not much time left I guess."
Hend is coming to the end of a year in which he has risen more than 50 places in the world ranking - he heads into the Australian PGA Championship at 60 in the world - and set the pace in the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
His improved form owes much to his decision to have an oversized thyroid removed four years ago, the only remnant of the surgery a small scar on his neck. With his health on the improve, his temperament has followed.
Once a hot-head on the course, he has learned to control his emotions to the
betterment of his golf.
"I had an over-active thyroid and I was a little bit of a fiery person," Hend said.
"I find it much easier now to try to keep calm. I find on a day to day basis a bit easier to keep a level head and put one foot in front of the other, rather than losing the plot totally.
"It's just made a massive difference after I had the thyroid removed -
I've been a totally different person.
"Maturity obviously comes with age and experience and I think I've had plenty of experience and I'm getting on in the years now but it certainly has helped a lot.
"Now I can actually work out without feeling like I'm going to pass out from the thyroid pushing on my arteries in my neck and I can breathe properly and all that sort of stuff.
"The other reason why I'm successful at what I do is I love the game, I love to play golf. I don't play golf to make a living, I play golf because I love playing golf and I think that's a big part of it."
He also loves returning home, something he is doing this week. The proud Queenslander is based in America but still has a home in Brisbane and a victory on familiar soil this week would top off a year which is already one to remember.
"I think there's a low score out there," he said.
"Obviously, it depends on the wind conditions here, all the time. If it gets really windy it's really difficult.
"I've played the back-9 only, I haven't played the front-9 yet, but I still think there's a 62, 63 out there if you play well enough."
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