The stage looks set for an exciting weekend at the Australian PGA Championship with two unlikely youngsters leading the more experienced field.
|Young Chinese star Xin Jun Zhang leads the Australian PGA Championship. Image: OneAsia Tour|
Victoria’s Daniel Popovic and China’s Xin Jun Zhang lead the field by two shots as the field is trimmed and players tee off for the final two rounds of the Australian PGA Championship at Palmer Coolum Resort.
In a week where everyone is just expecting the unexpected, 26-year-old Popovic flew out of the blocks with a fantastic 8-under par 64 on Thursday. Great rounds by young golfers aren’t that amazing but a young golfer that can back it up gets people talking and Daniel Popovic backed it up with a solid 2-under 70 today to find himself with a share of the lead.
Popovic is ranked 1,251st in the world but looks to have the game to continue this form well into the weekend. His attitude is refreshing and openly admits the 15th hole at Coolum still puzzles him after making bogey on Thursday followed by double-bogey today.
“That 15th hole, I can’t get my head around it actually, it is really tough judging the wind there, behind the green there is a bunch of trees that are pretty tall and we actually, me and my caddy Johno we had the same yardage a lot today and we thought, yep” Popovic said after his round today.
“I picked the club straight out of the bag and we both agreed on it, stood over the shot, I did pull it a bit I admit, but I still thought I actually called it to go and it landed over the green and we just sort of looked at each other completely bamboozled didn’t know what the hell happened.”
China’s Xin Jun Zhang is often spoken about as a future star of golf. His two 5-under rounds of 67 included 14 birdies with only 22 putts needed during his second round.
“I have been surprised by my putting. I needed just 22 putts, which is my best-ever round. I really like the greens here.” Zhang said.
“But in the past two days I have also only been using a hybrid off the tee. I have only used a driver three times this week, so I have been very solid off the tee.”
Former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy lurks just two shots behind the leaders and looks to finally be hitting the ball well after an up-and-down year on the PGA Tour and a tough week at the Australian Open.
“I feel like I am in a good place, I think I like how I am playing and I am obviously quite comfortable on this golf course. It’s nice I will be in one of the last few groups tomorrow and if I can have a good score tomorrow, maybe get right up there after tomorrow and give it a crack on Sunday”, Ogilvy said.
Ogilvy is looking to get back into the world’s Top-50 ranked players which earns an automatic entry into the world’s best tournaments.