Honesty always prevails in the long run. Just ask popular New South Welshman Dimi Papadatos, who has capped off an eventful month on tour with a start in next year’s British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.
Two weeks after hitting one of the low points of his promising career when he was disqualified from the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final in the United Arab Emirates after reporting himself for using a club that had been damaged in anger during a frustrating opening round of 75, Papadatos buried the disappointment of missing out on a European Tour card by soaring into second place at the 2018 Emirates Australian Open thanks to a final-round 67 at The Lakes in Sydney.
While his final-round heroics weren’t enough to catch red-hot Mexican Abraham Ancer, who waltzed home by five shots to lift the Stonehaven Cup, Papadatos won’t be too disappointed tonight. He has $127,500 about to land in his bank account and a ticket to the famed Royal Portrush in July, where he will make his Major championship debut.
— 7Golf 🏌 (@7golf) November 18, 2018
“It’s awesome. That just tops it off,” a relieved Papadatos said after his round. “To get to play with the world’s best players is going to be a great experience. I dreamt about playing in The Open growing up so to get there is amazing.
“I was just happy to get in the clubhouse with a good score today and reap the benefits now. It’s been unfortunate what happened a few weeks ago (in Dubai), but I’ve just got to put that past me. I figure if I’m not here next year or the year after, just keep plugging away and hopefully … and if not, I’ll see what happens.”
Papadatos, who had former captain of The Lakes Golf Club, Tony O’Rourke on his bag, also got a taste of what life on the PGA Tour is like after being paired with American star Keegan Bradley in the final round.
“Playing with Keegan was awesome,” said Papadatos, the 2014 New Zealand Open champion. “He’s a great guy and obviously a really good player. It was a pretty unreal atmosphere out there today – big crowds, playing with him and my good mate (Aaron) Pike was good fun. We had a bit of a laugh out there to calm my nerves.”
Desperate to play his way into the top 15 in the Order of Merit and earn full status on Europe’s main tour next year before he was disqualified for being, well, too honest, Papadatos has another chance to make an impression at Thursday week’s European Tour co-sanctioned Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast. A win there would kick-start another assault on a European Tour card.
“Yeah, that would be massive. A win (at RACV Royal Pines) would obviously turn things around a lot and get me going over to Europe and give me some status over there. I’ll just try to have a good week and worry about it when it happens.”
Until then, the man who’s played more golf than most this year will take a well-earned rest. “I’ve played so much golf this year, it’s been ridiculous,” he says. “I’m also playing the two weeks after the PGA in South Africa, so next week’s going to be pretty relaxing. I’ll go to the beach, maybe go fishing a couple times.”
Nothing like an honest day’s fishing for a man who deserved to catch a break.
With his Australian Open victory, Ancer claimed one of the other two British Open spots, while 2018 New South Wales Open champion Jake McLeod capped off the biggest month of his career after his third-place finish punched his ticket to Royal Portrush.
“I’m absolutely stoked right now, to qualify for The Open is unreal,” said the 27-year-old Queenslander. “It’s going to be special to play in my first Major championship, especially in Northern Ireland as I’ve never been there before. I can’t wait to get there.
“I’ve wanted to play in Majors like The Open ever since I was a little kid and for this to be my first appearance, it’s going to be so special. I’m nervous already. I played a bit of links golf at the Dunhill Championship and did OK, so yes, can’t wait.”