VICTORIAN Daniel Popovic and China’s Zhang Xinjun share the lead after the second round of the 2012 Australian PGA Championship on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Tied at 10-under going into Saturday, Popovic and Zhang lead by two over 2008 champion Geoff Ogilvy and fellow Victorian Matt Griffin who are tied at 8-under par.
Out early Friday, 26 year old Popovic followed up his first round 64 with a 70 at the Palmer Coolum Resort to hold the clubhouse lead for the majority of the afternoon.
“I’m stoked, I can’t get the smile off of my face,” said Popovic. “It’s an unbelievable experience, I can’t even explain it. I’m lost for words explaining it.”
While The PGA Tour of Australasia rookie exceeded the expectations of many to maintain a share of the lead, Popovic’s round could have been even better but for a double bogey on the par five 15th.
“That 15th hole, I can’t get my head around it actually. It is really tough judging the wind there. It was a mind blank there’s no explanation for it apart from I just wasn’t in the shot.”
China’s Zhang posed a threat to Popovic’s lead throughout the afternoon, at one stage taking the outright lead at 11-under
A bogey on 18 and a final round of 67 returned the 25 year old OneAsia regular to 10-under. Zhang is confident he can be the first Asian player to really contend for the Joe Kirkwood Cup.
“I’m not nervous at all, just enjoying myself and enjoying the game,” Zhang said through a translator.
“I have been surprised by my putting. I needed just 22 putts which is my best ever round. I really like the greens here.”
Tasmanian Mathew Goggin, local Stephen Bowditch and Brad Kennedy finished at 7-under in a tie for fifth.
A further shot back are Rod Pampling and Peter Senior, while a group of 11 players including Marc Leishman and Darren Clarke share 10th position at 5-under par.
The low score of the day belonged to Kurt Barnes who was on a mission to make up for his first round round 2-over 74.
Barnes shot a blistering 7-under 65 to finish with a 5-under par total, enough to propel the big hitting New South Welshman into the top 10.
The cut was made at 1-over par with 71 Professionals returning to compete on the weekend.
Play will get underway Saturday from 9.08am, with the final group of Popovic, Zhang and Ogilvy set to tee off at 11.15am.2012 Australian PGA Championship Leaderboared Australian PGA Championship Tee Times