Daniel Popovic polished off a wire-to-wire victory at the Australian PGA Championship with a 3-under-par 35-34=69 at Palmer Coolum Resort in Queensland.
The unheralded, 26-year-old Aussie entered the week ranked 1,251st in the world ranking. He took time off this year to spend time with his father, Radi, who has an incurable form of leukemia. After opening with a nine-birdie, 8-under 64 this week, the younger Popovic chased with a 70 to share the lead at the midpoint. A third-round 69 recaptured outright possession, allowing him to sleep on a two-stroke lead heading into the finale. In the threesome ahead, Rod Pampling mounted a charge and held the lead for a while, but closed bogey-bogey-double bogey to settle for second place with Anthony Brown, four shots adrift. Popovic posted 16-under 272 for his first victory on the circuit. It figures to open his first set of doors on the global scene.