Popovic Back in Solo First at Australian PGA Championship


Daniel Popovic will be going for a wire-to-wire victory in the Australian PGA Championship. The 26-year-old carded a 3-under 69 at Palmer Coolum Resort Saturday on Queensland's Sunshine Coast for a two-stroke lead with 18 holes to go.

After beginning the third round tied for the lead with China's Xin Jun Zhang, who posted a 74 and fell down the leaderboard into a tie for ninth five strokes back, Popovic stands at 13-under 203, two strokes clear of Anthony Brown (64) and three in front of Peter Senior (68) and Matthew Griffin (70), all fellow Aussies.

As he was following the first two rounds, Popovic was excited about his position in the tournament, which was first played in 1905. "I'm over the moon, I couldn't fell any better," said Popovic, who with a win Sunday would earn $250,000.

"I knew I had it in me. I know I've got one more good round in me if I stick to the routine that has worked so far."

Popovic said the secret to his success this week is his new Odyssey No. 7 putter, which he said saved him "at least three or four strokes a round . . . I'm never going to let it out of my sight," he joked.

Popovic almost quit golf earlier this year due to his father's incurable bone cancer. He said his dad will be watching the final round from his hospital bed, where he is undergoing blood testing. ''It's going to be an incredible ride for the whole family I think, tomorrow,'' Popovic said.

''For myself . . . and my dad, it is going to be huge.''

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke, the 2011 British Open champion, posted a 72 and was tied for 24th, eight strokes behind Popovic. South African Rory Sabbatini (70) was 11 shots back.

For complete scoring details, visit http://championship.pga.org.au/scores.


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