Taking place at The Lakes in Sydney – Abraham Ancer, Dimitrios Papadatos and Jake McLeod finished as the top three to qualify for The 148th Open next July.
But who are the three men who will be teeing it up in Royal Portrush? We will be profiling each of the qualifiers – continuing our series with second-placed Papadatos.
A Stolz from the blue
A New South Wales boy through and through – born in Sydney and now residing in Norah Head – it’s fitting that Papadatos qualified for his maiden major courtesy of a tournament in his home state.
At the start of his career, he was mentored by and coached by fellow Australian Andre Stolz – a one-time winner on the PGA Tour who regularly picked up trophies Down Under.
Papadatos was encouraged to turn pro in 2012, aged 21, by Stolz and earned his card for the 2013 PGA Tour of Australasia by finishing ninth at Qualifying School.
A tied-third finish at the Perth International in his rookie campaign demonstrated his talent and a breakthrough victory came in March 2014, as he clinched the New Zealand Open.
A lean couple of years followed but in 2017, the genial Aussie really hit his stride.
That winning feeling February 2017 saw Papadatos win the Oates Victorian Open by two strokes from Adam Bland and fellow Portrush qualifier McLeod, before the TX Civil & Logistics WA PGA Championship trophy was also added to his collection three months later.
That was a one-stroke victory over Rory Bourke that made him a three-time winner in Australasia but earlier this year he took another step up with a maiden victory on the Challenge Tour – the second-tier golf circuit in Europe.A two-shot victory at the Open de Portugal demonstrated a comfort with European courses and an ability to thrive outside Australasia, all of which bodes well for his Open adventure next July.
“I’m ecstatic to have qualified for The Open.” Dimitrios Papadatos
The 27-year-old has had a tough time of it in recent weeks – his pursuit of a 2019 European Tour card was hit hard by disqualification.
But he bounced back in spectacular fashion in front of a home crowd at the Australian Open last weekend, claiming the second qualifying spot for his maiden major with an 11-under total of 277.
Papadatos is a shot-maker and his seven birdies in Sydney that Sunday proved that, even if he finished four strokes behind winner Ancer – leaving him dreaming of Northern Ireland.
“I’m ecstatic to have qualified for The Open,” he said. “I went out to put a good score together and to have earned a qualifying spot puts the icing on the cake.
“It’s going to be awesome to play in my first major, ticking something off the bucket list, and I can’t wait to get over to Northern Ireland. I like playing over in the UK and you get some very testing golf, so it should be good fun.
“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 and I never thought I’d make it, so I’m pretty chuffed about it.”