How Dodt’s daddy duties sharpen his focus

A back injury gave him cause to reevaluate, a baby daughter the motivation to prioritise quality practice over quantity.

The results were instant and ongoing and saw Queensland’s Andrew Dodt rise more than 300 places in the Official World Golf Rankings in the space of four months late last year.

Dodt is one of 15 Aussies teeing it up in the Asian Tour’s SMBC Singapore Open at Sentosa Golf Club on Thursday, Adam Scott’s third triumph in 2010 the last time an Aussie has been victorious at the spectacular Serapong Golf Course that was ranked 79th in the world in Golf Digest’s most recent list of the best courses on the planet.

Now based in Newcastle, Dodt was tied for 34th at Sentosa 12 months ago but enters 2020 with a much clearer idea of what he needs to do to be successful.

Forced to miss three months with a back injury early last year, Dodt returned at the Sarawak Championship in August and shot 24-under on his way to a third Asian Tour title.

He backed that up the following week with a tie for 10th at the Tailor-made Building Services NT PGA Championship and was top five at both the Vic PGA, AV Jennings NSW Open and was eighth in the Australian PGA Championship.

Due to celebrate his 34th birthday on Australia Day, Dodt says he is practising smarter, the lure of daddy-daughter time with 14-month-old Azalea the inspiration to make the most out of his time at the golf course.

“It makes my practice more quality at home because I don’t have as much time as I used to,” Dodt explains, Pacific Dunes and Waratah Golf Club his regular practice venues.

“I’m used to being at the golf course all day. Now it’s half to three-quarters of the day and more quality time so I can spend more time at home.

“I’m just practising more under pressure, which I never used to do. Just playing games against myself, specific drills.

“I just used to stand on the range all day and hit ball after ball with no meaning but now I’ve got a set where if I’ve got two weeks to prepare for a tournament, yes there’s some technical stuff if I need to work on anything but then I slowly move into reps and then match practice.

“I get to the tournament and I’m just ready to go.”

After an eight-week break between tournaments, Dodt’s back injury forced him to withdraw from the Trophee Hassan II tournament in Morocco in April, his victory in Sarawak in his first start back a shock even to himself.

“Winning was a surprise but playing well wasn’t a surprise because I had been playing well at home,” said Dodt.

“That’s always the challenge, playing well at home and then taking it to a tournament but I shot 24-under in my first event in three months.

“It really made me think that what I’m doing at home to prepare for tournaments is right.

“Even since then, when I’ve had three weeks, a month off, that first tournament back I’ve really been in the mix.

“The back injury was a good thing because I had the time to pull everything apart and look at everything again. See if I was doing everything the way I wanted to do things and came out in August and hit the ground running.

“That just tells me that what I’m doing at home is spot on.”

Veterans Marcus Fraser and David Gleeson have accepted invitations to play in Singapore this week as has rookie professional David Micheluzzi.

Terry Pilkadaris and Travis Smyth are both backing up following their strong performances at last week’s Hong Kong Open with Aaron Pike, Daniel Nisbet, Jake Higginbottom and Josh Younger also in the field.

Co-sanctioned with the Japan Golf Tour, the Singapore Open also provides an opportunity for a host of Aussies to begin their 2020 campaigns with Adam Bland, Matthew Griffin, Won Joon Lee, Dylan Perry, David Bransdon and Kiwi Michael Hendry all taking up the option to play this week.

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