Australia’s Dimitrios Papadatos talks candidly about the many highs and lows he has already experienced in his professional career – and how he keeps going after a number of setbacks.

Four years ago at Q-School I needed a double bogey to get a European Tour card, but I made a triple. I was playing really well that week and after almost six rounds I knew I was one inside the mark with three holes to go. Then I narrowly missed a birdie putt on 17 – but I still knew I was one inside the mark playing the last. You don’t really think about that though – you just want to make a birdie or a par and then get out of there. I hit my drive far out to the left, I was trying to hit it too far, and it rolled up under the lip of a bunker. I tried to play out but I hit it into the lip and it popped up and plugged next to me. I thought ‘surely this can’t be happening’ and ‘we’re in some trouble’. I hit it out on to the fairway, then spun it back to 50 feet, and I thought at the time I had that putt for a bogey to get my card. I gave that a bit of a run past the hole – and then obviously wasn’t the happiest person standing over my double bogey putt – so I missed that one too. I saw the cut went back so I had just missed a putt for my card.


It was a nightmare really. I continued to play poorly for a while after that, and although I had been playing poorly for a while before that week, it was really frustrating and a hiccup in my career for sure. You have to dig deep after moments like that, though, and although I let myself be down for a while, I told myself to ‘snap out of it and look at the bigger picture’. If that’s a bad thing to happen in your life it’s not too bad, I knew I’d get another opportunity the following year and I knew I’d still get a lot of opportunities to play the game that I love. It wasn’t the end of the world, even though it felt like it for a little bit.

When I won my first pro title in New Zealand in 2014 it was a pleasant surprise. But after that I struggled with my game and played really poorly for the rest of the year. I was playing terribly, flying around the world missing cuts, in Asia, invites here and there, and coming last in a few events.

It does take its toll after a while and it does beat you down big time. When you have those long stretches flying and travelling and putting so much time and effort in – along with the financial pressure as well – it gets really difficult getting through that. By the end of 2014 I was all over the shop. I went to European Tour Q-School that year and didn’t make it, then I went to Japan Q-School and pulled out after three rounds too, then I missed the cut by one at the Australian Open, so it was a really tough time.

Even though those bad times are hard, the winning feeling is very special. Winning on the Challenge Tour was awesome. I saw it as a great opportunity to earn my card as I had no status going into 2018 – I was just playing back in Oz – and I somehow got an invite to play in Portugal. I got a call on the Saturday, threw my passport in the bag, and made the journey from Perth to Portugal to see if I could turn things around – and I went on to win. I only packed for one week and I ended up staying in Europe for maybe ten or 11 weeks in a row.

I was in a pretty good position going into the Challenge Tour Grand Final last year – but I got disqualified. I had spent a lot of time inside the top 15 but I really struggled going into some of the bigger events in China and Kazakhstan, so I dropped off to 19th in the rankings and had a bit of ground to make up on the top 15.



I needed a few things to go my way and they definitely didn’t. I started off well, I was three under through nine, but then I made a triple on the tenth after hitting it in the hazard, so I had a bit of a mess there. I parred the 11th, and then on the 12th I drove it into the water and after my approach I threw my eight iron into the ground after hitting it into the water again, which I felt was fair enough as I’d had enough by then!

I checked the club to see if it was damaged. It didn’t look damaged at the time, so I put the club back in the bag and finished the following hole. Then on the next par five I hit it in the fairway trap, and as I was trying to lay up from the bunker – again not being too happy with myself as the other guys were waiting to play their fairway shots – I pulled out my eight iron again and hit it straight down on to the fairway. It wasn’t until the 17th hole when I had the club out again that I noticed in my set up the eight iron wasn’t sitting right on the ground. Because I didn’t ground my club in the bunker I couldn’t tell that it was bent, and after noticing that I had bent the club I told my caddie that I’ll report it to the officials at the end of the round as we only had two holes left and I didn’t want to make a fuss.

I was pretty sure I was going to be DQ’d. And after that I had a 14-and-a-half-hour flight home to think about it. I was quite angry at the result and how I finished the year, but I did see the positives. I know this game is going to keep beating me down, but I am slightly getting numb to it and I know there is probably more to come!

After I came home, I qualified for The Open. I had initially planned to go back to Q-School in Europe, but I decided to cut my losses and play a few events in Aus and try and end the year well – which I did by finishing second at the Aus Open. I have always dreamed of playing in Majors and competing against the best players in the world, so I can’t wait.

I don’t know what keeps me going. You just get up and you get through it. You have goals of being on the European Tour and playing at a high level and you just have to keep remembering what you have done before – I was fortunate in that I won early and had a few good results which gave me a lot of faith. I don’t do it all the time, but I know that if I play well I can compete.

You just have to keep things in perspective. You can have a bad day in golf – I am one who often gets frustrated on the course and have a quick reaction to it – but I never let it affect the rest of my life and I always try to enjoy myself. I will always strive to be the best that I can be and work really hard, but you always have to remember that it’s just a game of golf and it’s not that bad. As bad as you want it, and as hard as you work, you have to enjoy the process of getting there too.

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