Dad’s fight inspires Popovic

Day 2, 2012 Australian PGA Championship at Palmer Resort First round leader Daniel Popovic. Photo:Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily
Day 2, 2012 Australian PGA Championship at Palmer Resort First round leader Daniel Popovic. Photo:Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily Warren Lynam

IF CONFIDENCE alone won you golf tournaments,

engrave emerging pro Daniel Popovic's name on the Joe Kirkwood Cup now.

The previously little-known Victorian, 26, remained the surprise packet of the Australian PGA Championship yesterday by staying atop the leaderboard after round two at the Palmer Coolum Resort.

The tour rookie followed his opening round eight-under 64 with a two-under 70 to be at 10-under and the joint leader with China's Zhang Xin Jun.

Zhang bogeyed the last hole to shot a 67 for the second straight day.

Australians Geoff Ogilvy and Matthew Griffin were joint third at six-under.

A trio of Aussies, the Sunshine Coast's Steven Bowditch, Matthew Goggin and Brad Kennedy, were tied for fifth at seven-under.

Inspired by his father's battle with terminal cancer, Popovic has the air of child with a new toy, and has been infused with a regular winner's confidence.

"I'm stoked. I can't get the smile off my face actually since I finished the round," he said.

"Standing over the putter now I feel like I am correctly aligned, and my confidence over the putter, you can't fault it.

"It's unbelievable, and I hope I can play every single round of golf for the rest of my life with that confidence." Popovic fired a three-under 33 on the front nine after birdies on one, five and seven.

He birdied the par-four 10th, with his only blemish a double

bogey seven at the 520m 15th.

"That 15th hole, I can't get my head around it, act

ually," he said.

Prior to the PGA Championship, Popovic had played 12 tour events and made six cuts.

His best results were equal sixth at the NSW PGA Championship last month and eighth at January's Victorian Open.

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