Still leading ... Daniel Popovic of Australia. Photo: Getty Images
Victorian Daniel Popovic and China’s Xin Jun Zhang are top of the Australian PGA Championship leaderboard heading into the weekend but the experienced Geoff Ogilvy looms as the player everyone has to beat.
Popovic (64-70) and the late charging Zhang (67-67) were locked in the lead at 10-under, two shots clear of Ogilvy (67-69) and Matthew Griffin (69-67).
Zhang had the outright lead twice in the last four holes but finished level with Popovic after a bogey on his final hole.
Making a move ... Geoff Ogilvy. Photo: Getty Images
Popovic also stumbled late in his round with a double-bogey at the par-5 15th hole.
But the 26 year-old Victorian, whose father is battling incurable cancer, walked off the Coolum course with his confidence intact and looking forward to locking horns with Ogilvy, who as a major winner is the man to beat.
Big Kurt Barnes from the Hunter Valley district posted the best round of the day with 65, one better than Canberra professional Matthew Miller, who had an eagle in his 66.
Ogilvy agreed his experience of being in contention heading to the weekend put him in a good position to attack.
‘‘It helps. Being on the first tee can be a scary place the first few times you are there on the weekend,’’ said the 2006 US Open winner and 2008 Australian PGA champion.
‘‘There is a no substitute for experience. It’s a nice advantage to have but there are a lot of good golfers in this field playing well and there is still a long way to go.’’
Popovic said he was ‘‘stoked’’ to still be on top of the leaderboard.
‘‘I can’t get the smile off my face actually,’’ he said.
-10: Xin Jun Zhang (CHN), Daniel Popovic (AUS) 18 holes
-8: Matthew Griffin (AUS), Geoff Ogilvy (AUS)
-7: Brad Kennedy (AUS), Mathew Goggin (AUS), Steven Bowditch (AUS)
-6: Peter Senior (AUS), Rod Pampling (AUS)