A SURPRISED and emotional Andrew Dodt has won his second European Tour title after a long struggle.
The 29 year old Aussie golfer completed a remarkable return to form as he denied Thongchai Jaidee victory on home soil in the 2015 True Thailand Classic on the weekend.
A winner in India back in 2010, Dodt had not had a top-ten finish since and had to battle through the Qualifying School last November to regain his playing rights after losing his card at the end of 2013.
“I’m speechless – it’s just come out of nowhere,” said the Australian, who shot a flawless closing 67 for a 16 under par total and one shot victory at Black Mountain Golf Club.
“I played really well yesterday and today but I just didn’t think I’d come out on top. I knew I was playing well but to come out and win is just a dream come true.
“To be honest, losing my card two years ago was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I went home last year, spent 12 months at home, played the Asian Tour again, found myself again, found my game and to be in the winner’s circle again – it’s unbelievable.”
Tournament ambassador Jaidee was level with Dodt with three holes to play, but three-putted the 16th for bogey, failed to get up-and-down from a greenside bunker for birdie at the next and, requiring a gain at the par five last to force a play-off, left his eagle putt eight feet short and missed the birdie effort after finding the green in two.
Dodt had started the day four shots behind overnight leader Scott Hend, who had initially gone two shots clear in the final round with birdies at the second and fourth, but did not find a further birdie and three-putt bogeys at the seventh and 14th, as well as a dropped shot on the 17th where he almost found water from a greenside bunker, left him with a closing 72 and tied second with Jaidee.
“I pressed for the win on 17 and got a bit aggressive with my bunker shot, and I finished one shot behind. I came here to try to win,” the big-hitting Hend said.
“I thought Dodty was going to make birdie on 18 and I was only 15 under, so I thought I had to play an aggressive bunker shot. Unfortunately, I caught it a little too clean and bogeyed the hole.
“But all in all it was a good solid week and there are a lot of positives to take out of it. It’s good to see Dodty winning, fantastic. Obviously I wish it was me standing there winning, but congratulations to him – he’s played well over the weekend and all credit to him.”
The event was jointly sanctioned with the Asian Tour, as will be the next event this week, the Hero Indian Open at Delhi Golf Club.True Thailand Classic Leaderboard