05 May 2022 | Professional golf |
Dodt the hunter ... and hunted at NT PGA
by PGA of Australia
By Tony Webeck
Andrew Dodt’s sole focus is on winning the Tailor-Made Building Services NT PGA Championship starting Thursday yet there is another threat looming as the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia season reaches its climax. Originally scheduled as the 2021/2022 season opener last August, the shift of the $150,000 NT PGA to May brings added significance as players continue to jockey for spots on the DP World Tour, direct entry into the final stage of Korn Ferry Tour qualifying school, various Q school exemptions and status on the PGA Tour of Australasia. What’s at stake: -Top 3 receive 2022/2023 DP World Tour cards -Top 5 exempt into Korn Ferry Tour Final Qualifying School -The leading 3 finishers (not otherwise eligible) to a limit of 15th place exempt into DP World Tour Final Stage Q School -The leading 4th – 10th placed entrants (not otherwise eligible) to a limit of 25th place exempt into Second Stage of DP World Tour Q School -Those ranked six through fifteen (6-15) exempt into Second Stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q School -A raft of various other individual event and qualifying schools from various tours around the world for high-placed finishers from the PGA Tour of Australasia Currently third on the Order of Merit thanks in large part to his runner-up finish at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, Dodt is positioned to snare one of the three cards on offer to the 2022/2023 DP World Tour season. With an unassailable lead at the top, Australian PGA champion Jed Morgan already has one wrapped up – along with a spot in next month’s US Open – with Newcastle’s Blake Windred all but guaranteed one of the remaining two, his only danger a Dimi Papadatos-Andrew Dodt 1-2 finish on Sunday. Trailing Windred by $14,055, Dodt can move into second with a win at Palmerston Golf Course but his biggest threat is likely to come from Vic Open champion Papadatos. Currently in fourth position, Papadatos trails Dodt by just $969.70, thus setting up a tournament within a tournament over the four days at Palmerston. Yet with all that is at stake, Dodt insists he would be happy for Papadatos if he was to supplant him in the No.3 position and book his ticket to Europe in 2023. “I have a lot of respect for Dimi and he’s a good mate,” Dodt said of the two-time Vic Open champion. “He’s been over on the Challenge Tour for a few years now which is quite demanding, especially while living in Australia. “We’ll obviously find out on Sunday where the final Order of Merit positions will stand and if he happens to gain one of them, I will be extremely happy for him. “He’s put in the work, had some very admirable results and deserves his chance.” Dodt will start the NT PGA intent on securing his first win on home soil since the 2014 Queensland Open but with a balanced mindset big on gratitude. A two-time winner on the DP World Tour, Dodt has mixed it with Europe’s best but following the birth of his second daughter last Wednesday admits that he prefers now to stay closer to home. Originally from Gatton west of Brisbane, the 36-year-old is only in Palmerston thanks to the support of his wife Ashleigh and the safe arrival of Avie Rae last Wednesday. “Being a dad to two young girls is the greatest feeling I have ever experienced,” said Dodt, who now lives in Newcastle. “Coming home from the hospital on Sunday, walking in the door and suddenly realising we’re now a family of four was surreal. “My wife is the hero. She’s very supportive of me and was adamant on travelling to Palmerston as we know what’s at stake this week.” The lure of one of three DP World Tour cards was only dangled in front of players on the eve of the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland Golf Club in January. The richest tournament on the schedule this season, Morgan’s victory all but secured the Order of Merit title and gave runner-up Dodt something to ponder. “My goal wasn’t to get back to Europe but finishing second at the Aus PGA changed a few things,” admits Dodt, who was also top 10 at the Gippsland Super 6 prior to Christmas. “However, I’m at a different stage in my career. I had eight wonderful years in Europe which I am very grateful for but at this point in time – and with a young family at home – the Asian Tour fits my schedule a lot better. “With regards to this week, whenever I play I put in 100 per cent and this week will be no different.” Five of the top 10 on the Order of Merit are in the field this week including defending champion and local favourite Aaron Pike. Currently seventh on the Order of Merit thanks largely to his TPS Hunter Valley triumph, Pike could finish as high as third if he can deliver a repeat performance on the course where he first learned the game. Other notable players in the field include former champions Brett Rankin (2019) and Jordan Zunic (2016) and winners on tour this season Jack Thompson (Gippsland Super 6), Jay Mackenzie (WA PGA) and Braden Becker (WA Open)
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