Date: July 17, 2017
Author: Bernie McGuire, Dundonald Links

Dodt delights in altered trip plan

Forget the flight across "The Pond" to the Big Apple, it's now all roads to Royal Birkdale for Queenslander Andrew Dodt.

It does mean Dodt's wife is going to have to purchase woollens and water-proof attire after her 31-year-old husband qualified for this week's 146th Open Championship overnight.

Dodt, despite a disappointing Scottish Open final-round 73 for a share of fourth place at eight under, secured the last of three Royal Birkdale places on offer at Dundonald Links.

The strapping Dodt denied Londoner Anthony Wall, married to an Australian-born former Qantas stewardess, by virtue of a higher world ranking.

Dodt went into the event ranked No.193 and Wall had been 245th in the world.

Rachel Dodt arrived from Sydney and into a rain and windswept Glasgow Airport on Saturday morning, largely packed for a five-day holiday in summery New York and possibly a last overseas holiday before the couple tries to start a family.

She was the among the first to greet Dodt when he left the Dundonald scorer's hut.

"Rachel and I were meant to be off to New York tomorrow morning, but pretty happy to be going to Birkdale and my first major," he said.

“So I am over the moon. Over the moon. It's been a big goal of mine sort of the back end of last year and this year to play my first major, and yeah, next week, bring it on."

The result is Dodt's sixth top-10 in his 26 Tour events this season and, in some way, makes amends for May's disappointment in leading going into the final round of the BMW PGA Championship only to finish in a share of sixth.

And encouraging Dodt over the last few holes on the final day at Dundonald was 1995 Scottish Open winner and fellow Aussie Wayne `Radar' Riley, who was working on course for SKY Sports.

"I found myself particularly on the back nine, just a little bit mentally fatigued," Dodt said.

"I felt like I used a lot of energy early on in the round and really had to take things a bit slower and take one step at a time a bit more, because I knew The Open spot was right in line and had to sort of dig as deep as I could down the stretch.

"I kind of knew I had to hole that. Up the fairway, Radar said birdie would be nice, but par should be good.

"So, it's great news that I've finally done it (and get to) play my first major."

Dodt's effort comes just a month after Adelaide-raised good mate Wade Ormsby contested his first major in qualifying for the US Open.

Dodt will now be part of a big contingent of 11 Australians to compete at Royal Birkdale on the 26th anniversary of Ian Baker-Finch and Mike Harwood finishing one-two in the 1991 Open.

Callum Shinkwin and Matthieu Pavon were the other Open qualifiers overnight, with the former losing a playoff to Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello, who was already exempt.