Popovic retains share of lead

2012-12-14 12:15

Coolum - Daniel Popovic's aversion to the 15th hole at the Palmer Coolum Resort continued on Friday but the tour rookie played well enough around the rest of the course to retain a share of the Australian PGA Championship lead after the second round.

The overnight leader, who won the 2012 Australasian PGA qualifying school, followed up his opening round 64 with a two-under 70 to join China's Zhang Xin Jun at the top of the leaderboard on 10-under 134.

The 26-year-old Australian dropped two shots at the par-five 15th, the same hole where he had his sole bogey a day earlier.

VIDEO: Australian PGA, Day 2

"That 15th hole, I can't get my head around it actually," Popovic told reporters. "It is really tough judging the wind there, behind the green there is a bunch of trees that are pretty tall.

"I picked the club (nine-iron) straight out of the bag and my caddy and I both agreed on it. I did pull it a bit I admit, but I actually called it to go and it landed over the green and we just sort of looked at each other completely bamboozled.

"Then over the back of the green, I didn't have the best lie... the grass was growing into the ball and then (I) just completely stuffed it up."

Zhang, meanwhile, made the most of his hot putter, sinking seven birdies in his first 15 holes to take sole possession of the lead but two bogeys in the last three holes forced him to settle for a five-under 67 in the $1.3 million tournament.

"I've been surprised by my putting, I needed just 22 putts which is my best-ever putting round, I really like the greens here," Zhang said through an interpreter.

"With my approach shots I'm just trying to visualise them, to think about the shot and hit it, so far it's working."

Former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy (69) and Matthew Griffin (67) were tied for third, two strokes behind the leaders, while fellow Australians Matt Goggin (66), Steven Bowditch (67) and Brad Kennedy shared fifth spot, a further shot back.

Ogilvy, who started on the 10th hole, hit six birdies but three bogeys cost him the lead at the halfway stage.

"I played quite nicely this morning, I felt like I was a bit loose on the front nine and let a few opportunities go away but I played well on my last nine holes," Ogilvy said. "I'm still in the tournament and that's all you can really ask."

Scores after the second round of the OneAsia co-sanctioned US$1.25 million Australian PGA at the par-72 Palmer Coolum Resort course on Friday (Australia unless stated):

134 - Daniel Popovic 64-70, Zhang Xin Jun (CHN) 67-67

136 - Geoff Ogilvy 67-69, Matthew Griffin 69-67

137 - Mathew Goggin 71-66, Steven Bowditch 70-67, Brad Kennedy 69-68

138 - Rod Pampling 71-67, Peter Senior 68-70

139 - Stephen Leaney 69-70, Steve Conran 69-70, Matthew Millar 73-66, Richard Green 71-68, Darren Clarke (NIR) 70-69, Leigh McKechnie 70-69, Jason Kang (USA) 70-69, Kurt Barnes 74-65, Scott Strange 66-73, Marc Leishman 69-70, Jamie Arnold 71-68

140 - Cameron Percy 70-70, Brendan Jones 73-67, Robert Allenby 73-67, Peter Fowler 70-70, Bronson La'Cassie 69-71, Stephen Dartnall 68-72, Heath Reed 72-68

141 - Adam Crawford 70-71, Anthony Brown 73-68, Josh Geary (NZL) 69-72, Greg Chalmers 72-69, Ryan Haller 68-73, Peter O'Malley 73-68

Selected scores

142 - Choo Tze-Huang (SIN) 67-75

143 - Choi Joon-Woo (KOR) 74-69

144 - Park Hyo-Won (KOR) 71-73, Park Ju-Hyuk (KOR) 77-67, Yi Cao (CHN) 73-71, Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 76-68, Kim Do-Hoon (KOR) 73-71

145 - Pravee Visalkt (THA) 74-71, Li Xinyang (CHN) 72-73

Missed cut

146 - Rory Hie (INA) 71-75, Garrett Sapp (USA) 73-73

147 - Huang Wen-Yi (CHN) 74-73

149 - He Ze-Yu (CHN) 78-71

150 - Masahiro Kawamura (JPN) 78-72, Simon Yates (SCO) 78-72, Chen Jian (CHN)

151 - Supravee Phatam (THA) 82-69

152 - Thomas Petersson (SWE) 78-74, Park Min-Jun (KOR) 78-74 Park Sang Hyun (KOR) 79-73

154 - Masaya Tomida (JPN) 74-80

155 - Choi Seong-Jin (KOR) 79-76, Park Sung-Hyuk (KOR) 78-77

157 - Jin Daxing (CHN) 75-82, Da Quan (CHN) 80-77

158 - Tanutchan Puaktes (THA) 79-79, Son Joon-Eob (KOR) 79-79

159 - Will Yanigasawa (USA) 81-78

160 - Wisut Artjanawat (THA) 77-83