ANDREW Dodt is used to sitting on a plane for 25 hours to play in a European Tour event.
The one-hour flight to Melbourne for the $1.5 million co-sanctioned Victorian Golf Open felt like a trip to Adamstown for the Charlestown-based professional.
The reclassified Vic Open at 13th Beach Golf Links on the Bellarine Peninsula starts Thursday and is the first of consecutive Australian events co-sanctioned with the European Tour. The $1.6 million World Super Six Tournament at Lake Karrinyup in Perth is being held from February 14.
Dodt spent the past nine years journeying to and from Europe, where he has won two events, but he has only partial status in 2019.
The onerous travel took its toll on the 33-year-old last season and, with the birth of his daughter Azalea in November, he is content to split his time between the Australasian, Asian and European tours.
“It is so good having only to travel an hour instead of 25,” Dodt said. “It feels like I am going to Adamstown or somewhere.
“I have mapped out the first quarter of the year with my playing schedule. The Asian Tour gets a bit quieter in the mid part of year. If it fits in, I will head to Europe then, but I won’t know until closer to the time.”
He was tied for 34th in the Singapore Open last month and is quietly confident of a strong showing this week.
“The first event of the year, you don’t know what to expect,” the right-hander said.
“I finished midfield. Having said that, the scores were quite close and I was only four shots outside of the top 10. I was happy with most parts of my game. There are always shots and rounds where you could have tidied something up here or there. From a whole, everything was quite solid.
“There were plenty of positives which I have continued to work on. Now I have four great events in a row. I really want to start the year off well and capitalise.”
He is one of eight Hunter-based or raised players at the Vic Open. Nick Flanagan has returned from the US and joins James Nitties, Dylan Perry, Aaron Townsend, Jake Higginbottom, Cal O’Reilly and Blake Windred at the event.
Dodt has “ramped up” his practice in the past fortnight.
“I knew at the end of last year that this month would be an important stretch for me,” he said. “I really wanted to hit the ground running. I put a lot of work in during January and hopefully it will pay off.”