Dimi Papadatos’ pursuit of a 2019 European Tour card has been dealt a cruel blow after the Australian was disqualified from the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final in the United Arab Emirates.
Desperate to play his way into the top 15 in the Order of Merit and earn full status on Europe’s main tour next year, the 2014 NZ Open champion was disqualified for using a club that had been damaged in anger during a frustrating opening round of 75, reporting the damage himself to officials with one hole to play in his opening round.
“Dimitrios Papadatos was disqualified from the Ras Al Khaimah Challenge Tour Grand Final following the breach of Rule 4-3 (b) Decision 4-3/4,” said a spokesperson for the Challenge Tour.
“After bending his club in anger on hole 12, he used the club again on hole 14. Papadatos discovered the damage himself on hole 17 and reported this to officials.
“Papadatos was disqualified on site. The European Tour’s Chief Referee John Paramor confirmed the disqualification after being sent an image of the damaged club.”
It was the worst way possible for Papadatos’s year-long goal to come to an end.
Domiciled inside the top 15 on the Order of Merit for much of the year after his win in the Portugal Open in May, Papdatos started the week in 19th position and needing a good result to move up the four spots required to earn a ticket to the European Tour.
With four birdies in his first six holes the initial signs were promising but a triple-bogey on the par-4 10th was followed by a quadruple-bogey 8 on the par-4 12th, leading to the show of frustration that would ultimately prove to be his undoing.
Incredibly, he made a birdie at the very next hole but once he reported his infraction to officials three holes later his fate was sealed.
By ending the year ranked 21st in the Challenge Tour standings, Papdatos has exemption into Final Stage of European Tour Qualifying School that will be conducted over six rounds in Spain from November 10.