Photo - Asian Tour
DODT AIMS TO TAME SAMUI BEAST AT QUEEN’S CUP
Samui, Thailand: Australia’s newest star Andrew Dodt will tee up at the Queen’s Cup on Thursday with every intention of exacting revenge over the Samui Beast.
Dodt, the highest ranked player in this week’s US$300,000 Asian Tour event, hopes to tame the demanding Santiburi Samui Country Club as he has missed the cut twice previously by a single stroke.
The 24-year-old Aussie claimed his maiden title at the inaugural Avantha Masters in India, jointly sanctioned with the European Tour, in February and is currently third on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.
A strong field made up of no fewer than 25 different nationalities has gathered at the holiday isle of Samui. Title holder Chinnarat Phadungsil will shoot for a repeat in the Queen’s Cup, which is revered by local players.
Thai veteran Thaworn Wiratchant, triumphant in 2008 at the Santiburi Samui course which is nicknamed the Samui Beast, Prayad Marksaeng and Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Japanese stars Tetsuji Hiratsuka and Hideto Tanihara, Chinese Taipei’s Lin Wen-tang and Singaporean Mardan Mamat are amongst those expected to challenge for Chinnarat’s crown.
Dodt is however planning to become the new king of Queen’s. “I've always enjoyed Koh Samui and it's one of my favourite golf courses. I've missed the cut by a shot the last two years and I feel like it owes me.
“I’d love to contend in another tournament this year whether in Asia or Europe. It was a whole lot of fun winning my first professional tournament and I know how much hard work and practice I need to put in to achieve the results. I would love to win another tournament to make it a special year,” said the former Australian Strokeplay champion.
His early season form also saw Dodt notch three other top-10s, including a third place at the Air Bagan Myanmar Open. With his career pathway opening up to Europe as well after his Indian success, Dodt has set up base in London but he remains committed to the Asian Tour where he made his debut in 2008.
“The win in India has certainly changed my life and the pathway I was headed towards. At the start of the year I thought I would be playing on the Asian Tour but we're now playing in Europe as well. I certainly look forward to coming back to Asia and playing some Asian Tour events as it's been so much fun,” he said.
Dodt has slowly made an impression in Europe and was joint halfway leader at the Celtic Manor Wales Open two weeks ago. He knows that familiarity will eventually breed more success in Europe but he is focused at the task at hand this week.
“I haven't played my best since the win as we’ve had so much to organise. My partner (Ashleigh) and I have moved to the other side of the world and that hasn't been easy. Anytime you change or start something new in your life, it’s always going to be a challenge but we're starting to settle down. It's frustrating when you’re not playing at your best but I know I can perform at a higher level,” said Dodt.
This week’s event: Queen's Cup.
Prize Money: US$300,000 - (Winner's purse: US$47,500).
Venue: Santiburi Samui Country Club, Samui, Thailand.
Starts: From June 17, Thursday till June 21, Sunday.
Top Contenders: Chinnarat Phadungsil (Thai - defending champion), Andrew Dodt (Aus), Tetsuji Hiratsuka (Jpn), Mardan Mamat (Sin), Lin Wen-tang (Tpe), Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha), Juvic Pagunsan (Phi).