“You can’t make that stuff up.”
That was the reaction of world No. 14 and former Ryder Cup player Paul Casey the troubles of Australia’s Dimi Papadatos at the Emirates Australian Open in Saturday’s third round. “Just brutal. But he handled it beautifully, I have to say.”
Papadatos teed off alongside Casey and overnight leader Matt Jones in the final group on day three at The Australian Golf Club and endured two horror breaks including a ball lost up a tree during the course of a devastating four-over 75. It dropped him eight shots off the pace.
Things began to unravel with a fluffed chip at the second which led to a bogey but at the ninth the 28-year-old hit a submerged log in the form of the sort of bounce only golf can serve up. A drive that drifted left and would normally have found light rough short of a pond instead hit a spectator and took an awkward bounce forward and into the water.
That led to a double bogey and dropped him off the pace but worse was to come three holes later.
Deliberately avoiding the left side of the fairway, Papadatos overcooked his cut shot and watched as it clattered into a group of trees separating the 12th and 13th fairways. “It wasn’t even that bad a shot,” he said. “I assumed it would be in the trap down there or sitting on the bark.
“But we got down there and couldn’t find it. It must have got stuck in a tree. What can you do? I’ve had a few strange ones in my time but that one is right up there.”
Papadatos was surprisingly philosophical about his travails on the day and even in the immediate aftermath said he had taken some positives from the round. “I felt very comfortable out there, that’s what I take out of today,” he said.
“Obviously nothing went right for me but I was just happy that I felt pretty comfortable. And you always learn from playing with better players and playing with Jonesy and Paul Casey was a fantastic experience.
“They’re obviously……I can tell they’re far better players but I’m not that far away. At the end of the day, I’ve got something to work towards.”
Runner-up last year to Abraham Ancer, Papadatos said the experience of playing late in the day in big events like this was a facet of the game impossible to practise. “You can’t tell someone what it’s going to be like or how they are going to handle it,” he said.
“The only way to find out about those things is to do them. I obviously didn’t play very well today but I was comfortable out there. The big thing about being in the final group of Aussie open is dealing with everything else.”
Papadatos slipped to 16th on the leaderboard and while winning is likely out of the question, he said he was looking forward to trying to post a low number in the final round. “I might have a good finish but Jonesy … he’s playing awesome,” he said.