Date: December 16, 2012
Author: Steve Orme, Omnisport

Popovic completes fairytale at Coolum

Victorian Daniel Popovic has overcome a mid-round stumble to complete a fairytale four-shot victory at the Australian PGA Championship on a dramatic final day at the Palmer Coolum Resort. After beginning the final round with a two-shot advantage, the 26-year-old made a fast start to lead by three before a disastrous double-bogey at the par-three 8th gifted Rod Pampling (69) the lead. He bounced back with a birdie on the par-five 12th to close within a shot of Pampling, who started his final round with six straight birdies. The veteran Queenslander looked in control of the tournament with three holes to play but consecutive Pampling bogeys and a superb Popovic birdie at the par-four 17th saw the rookie take a two-shot lead onto the 18th tee. His advantage swelled to four shots when Pampling found the water with his second shot en route to a disastrous double bogey. Popovic kept his emotions in check to par the last for a closing 69 to finish at 16-under par and claim his first professional victory. Victorian Anthony Brown carded a closing 71 to share second spot with Pampling at 12-under, a shot clear of Geoff Ogilvy (69) and Brad Kennedy (70). Richard Green and Nathan Green both signed for three-under 69&aposs to finish at 10-under for the championship, a shot clear of nine players including Northern Irishman Darren Clarke. Clarke, playing in the third group of the day, produced three birdies and an eagle in his first five holes on the way to a closing 68 to finish in a share of eighth. Defending champion Greg Chalmers carded a closing 72 to finish at seven-under while Australian Open winner Peter Senior struggled to a 77 to finish at minus-five. Despite his disappointing final round, Senior held on to win the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit, securing the veteran a start in the 2013 British Open. Four-time winner Robert Allenby endured a horror finish with consecutive double bogeys to sign for a 76 and finish at four-under overall.