An injured shoulder proved to be no obstacle for New South Welshman Andrew Dodt in the opening round of the Gippsland Super 6 at Warragul Country Club today.
The former Queenslander, now Novacastrian, shot a bogey free seven-under par round of 63 to be one shot clear of Queenslanders Michael Sim and Lawry Flynn despite being unsure if he would be fit to play yesterday.
Dodt, 35, withdrew from last week’s Victorian PGA Championship at the halfway mark because of his shoulder complaint and he has been racing against the clock to be ready for the final tournament of the year ever since.
“I kind of got through the last couple of days with a bit of physio and stretching. I decided yesterday afternoon that it felt pretty good and I’d give it a go,” he said.
“Seven-under it’s a little bit unexpected.”
In order to ease the pain, the 35-year-old refrained from using his driver on Warragul’s many short par-4s and instead opted for his trusty 2-iron while many others attacked the greens with the big stick.
“That was simply because hitting driver hurt and 2-iron didn’t. So I hit a lot of 2-irons and the shoulder was feeling alright so I started hitting more drivers,” he said.
“I might have to change my game plan now because the shoulder is feeling pretty good. There might be a few more drivers.”
A change of approach may be fraught with danger as keeping the driver in the bag proved to be the most effective strategy of the day.
After beginning the morning on the 10th tee, Dodt took full advantage of jackthe front nine which was more conducive to low scoring.
“I kind of got through the last couple of days with a bit of physio and stretching. I decided yesterday afternoon that it felt pretty good and I’d give it a go. Seven-under it’s a little bit unexpected.” - Andrew Dodt.
He made five birdies – which included a brilliant putt from off the green on the ninth – to enter the clubhouse with the outright lead.
“When you’ve got an injury or you’re feeling a bit under the weather, you play each shot as it is,” he said.
“The shot comes to you a lot clearer and you take it one shot at a time, as you’re supposed to do anyway, but the shoulder kind of made me concentrate a little more and switch on that little bit more.”
Sim and Flynn both made eight birdies in their entertaining rounds of 64 to be in the hunt, while New South Welshman Lincoln Tighe put on a show in the afternoon during his five-under par round.
Tighe opened with five straight birdies and was level with Dodt after 15 holes, but two late bogeys left him visibility frustrated.
He is joined by fellow New South Welshman Rohan Blizzard, South Australian Jack Thompson, Queenslander Aaron Wilkin and Victorian Jack Murdock in a share of fourth.