26-year-old Victorian Daniel Popovic has won the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola held at Palmer Coolum Resort from 13-16 December.
The Tour Rookie showed composure throughout the day to finish with a tournament total of 16-under 272 winning by four shots from his more experienced counterparts.
“Unbelievable, just unbelievable, there are no words to explain how good it sounds,” said Popovic of his name joining the long list of champions on the Joe Kirkwood Cup that include Player, Nagle, Thomson and Norman.
Popovic led the Championship from wire-to-wire and impressed himself with the mental resolve he displayed throughout the day.
“I knew if I had that same mentality of what I had every single day leading into every round this week I was going to be fine, which I did and I turned up today and I was more confident than any of the other days.”
Drawing inspiration from his father’s battle with cancer, Popovic said he now can’t wait to return home to Melbourne and his family.
“That is the difference because of my father, that is the difference as to why I am so confident and do back myself and do push myself so hard on the golf course now.
“For him it’s going to be a relief and he said he is so proud of me and so is my mum, they have all their friends over there, he is going to be over the moon and I cannot wait to give him a big bear hug.”
Earlier in the day, Rod Pampling jumped out of the gates with six birdies in his opening holes to ensure the day was a two horse race.
“That was very impressive from Rod Pampling, very impressive; I impressed myself a bit there actually keeping up with him in a way,” added Popovic.
Dropping four shots in the closing three holes Pampling finished tied runner up with Victorian Anthony Brown at 12-under 276.
With his win, Popovic will earn a start at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, ensuring 2013 is a far cry different from what he had originally planned.
“Two weeks ago I entered Q School for next year for Australia and was thinking I would just play one tour because of my fathers’ illness, but now next year is just going to be bigger and better and hopefully he keeps pushing on as well.
“I take away that I am not far off where you need to be in the world, my goal with golf is to win a Major championship and I don’t feel it is that far off. I mean mentally I am there, I do feel that; there are a couple of things with my game that I do need to improve on.”
While disappointed with his finish, Rod Pampling said his two top-10 finishes in as many weeks provides him with confidence for the 2013 PGA TOUR season where he has conditional status.
“Obviously you come down to win in Australia, it’s a great spot to get the confidence back. Second – as much as it hurts after being one ahead, it’s still nice to build on that and definitely get some confidence for next year,” said Pampling.
With the PGA being the final event of the year, Peter Senior took out the 2012 PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit ensuring he will tee up at The Open Championship in 2013. Senior finished the tournament tied in 27th place on 283 after starting the final day just two shots off the lead at 10-under.
Peregian Beach local Steven Bowditch finished yesterday with a fourth round four-under par 68, leaving him with an eighth place tie alongside several others including Darren Clarke and John Senden.
Meanwhile, speculation continues on whether the PGA will return to Coolum next year after Clive Palmer revealed that a revised offer had been made for Palmer Coolum Resort to continue hosting the tournament beyond this year.
The PGA board will meet on Wednesday (19 December) to discuss the offer.