28 Feb 2022 | Professional golf |
Anasta's promise as Dimi seeks TPS glory
by PGA of Australia
By Tony Webeck
Tournament host Braith Anasta has vowed to waive his company’s regular management fee if star signing Dimitrios Papadatos wins this week’s TPS Sydney presented by Webex at Bonnie Doon Golf Club in Sydney.
On the back of a hugely successful TPS Murray River event that garnered worldwide coverage, the field at Bonnie Doon is once again rich with the cream of Australia’s best men and women golfers.
As the recent winner of the Vic Open, Papadatos is the second-highest ranked male player in the field, headed only by Australian PGA champion Jed Morgan with the likes of Matthew Griffin, Jake McLeod, Bryden Macpherson, Anthony Quayle and TPS Murray River runner-up Andrew Evans among the leading contenders.
Although defending champion Andrew Martin is absent, experienced tour players such as 15-time Japan Golf Tour winner Brendan Jones, Nick Flanagan, Adam Bland, Peter Lonard and Peter O’Malley will also tee it up while the women’s field features many of those who contested The Athena last weekend.
Winner Kirsten Rudgeley, runner-up Grace Kim, Cassie Porter, Kelsey Bennett and Stephanie Bunque are all backing up along with Ladies European Tour players Whitney Hillier and Kristalle Blum.
As the women in the field seek to emulate Hannah Green’s victory at Cobram Barooga Golf Club, Papadatos is looking to build on a win at 13th Beach that Anasta says has “changed everything”.
When Searoo Sports was established by Anasta and Justin Caines in 2017 Papadatos was one of the first golfers to sign.
Given the illustrious rugby league career he enjoyed, Anasta is in a rare position to understand the emotional roller-coaster elite athletes regularly ride and has helped to guide Papadatos through a challenging past 18 months.
Despite three top-10 finishes the 30-year-old finished 51st on the 2021 Challenge Tour Order of Merit, failing to secure a promotion to the DP World Tour in 2022.
It was another setback, yet Anasta has seen a focus this year that suggests such status is not far from Papadatos’s reach.
“It’s a credit to him and his character to come up with that performance at the Vic Open because it had been a tough year for a lot of reasons,” Anasta explained.
“He showed a lot of grit, a lot of tenacity and a lot of willpower to come up with that.
“He went through a really tough period last year but to come back from that, we’re not taking any credit for that, that was all him.
“He picked himself off the floor and put himself in a position to win again.”
Less than $3,000 behind Anthony Quayle in the race for one of three cards to the DP World Tour awarded to the top-three finishers on the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit, Papadatos is suddenly in position to alter his immediate future in a significant way.
His Vic Open triumph came with the bonus of a start at the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews in July and has provided opportunity that seemed distant just a month ago.
“It gives him opportunity,” Anasta says of the significance of the Vic Open victory.
“If he can finish near the top of the Order of Merit he can get his DP World Tour card, he’s got the start at the British Open, it’s changed everything for him.
“He was always going to have to work hard this year – and he still does – but it’s redirected his whole season and given him a lot of promise and opportunity that he certainly didn’t have two weeks ago. “We had a Webex call in November to go over a plan for the year – we knew it would be different because of what happened last year. He’s made some significant changes and he’s really focused.
“It’s a credit to him that he’s put himself in the position that he’s in now.” As for that management fee on Sunday, Anasta insists a second win in quick succession will also come with an added perk.
“I’m sure he’ll be looked after,” Anasta quipped. TPS Sydney Hosted by Braith Anasta and presented by Webex by Cisco will be played from March 3-6 at Bonnie Doon Golf Club. The final two rounds will be broadcast live on Fox Sports and Kayo Freebies.
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