Popovic Rediscovers Form

In 2012 Daniel Popovic made headlines around Australia as the rookie who won the Australian PGA Championship. Since then it has been a battle for the Popovic as he dealt
06 Oct 2015 10:55
Popovic Rediscovers Form
Daniel Popovic in action. Photo: Fiji International

In 2012 Daniel Popovic made headlines around Australia as the rookie who won the Australian PGA Championship.

Since then it has been a battle for the Popovic as he dealt with the pressure of expectation and his own personal desire to improve his game.

This week he has returned to the South Pacific Open Championship and seen a resurgence in his game, just in time for the lucrative AU$1.125million Fijian International.

“I feel like my form is quite good, I need to play a little bit better to be pushing for the lead this week but if I can continue this form I don’t think I will be too far off the mark in Fiji,” said Popovic who also says his time in Noumea is good preparation for Fiji.

“We have similar conditions here in Noumea to what we will get in Fiji.

“It’s quite windy and hot so I think this week has been good preparation for Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course.”

Prior to this week Popovic made an important breakthrough, he rediscovered his hunger to compete.

“I am very happy; this is my first time playing in five months since I broke my ankle,” added Popovic who broke his ankle after crashing a golf cart at his home club in Australia.

“I think it recharged the batteries and made me have more desire to be out on the course.”

“Sitting at home not really being able to do much, you realise how lucky we are out here and that I have to take advantage of it while I still have the opportunity and the exemptions that I have.”

He is certainly capitalising on his opportunity and his refreshed enthusiasm for the game firing low rounds in the South Pacific Open, his warm-up tournament to the Fijian International.

“As I was starting to go lower and lower, it reminded me of that feeling in 2012 when I was playing well and when I was pushing for the lead,” said Popovic after he fired 5-under 66 in the first round.

“Then the nerves start going and the competiveness starts coming out.”

Not just about a refresh mental approach, Popovic has attributed his return to form to working with a renowned PGA Professional.

“It has been a tough couple of years, I was trying to better my game, there were a couple of clear flaws with my chipping and pitching and I tried so many different techniques.”

“I have teamed up with Gary Barter recently and we have been working really hard in the last month or so and it’s been great.”

“I hope the progression just keeps getting better.”

Now after a good performance Popovic is excited to head to the Fijian International and Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course after enjoying his time there in 2014.

“It’s an amazing place, the hotel we stay at there, one of the host hotels, is a beautiful place, nice and relaxing,” added Popovic who unfortunately missed the cut at the Fijian International last year.

“I am looking forward to getting back to playing some great golf courses and almost the start of the Aussie summer again.

Other players who are using the South Pacific Open Championship this week as preparation for the Fijian International include James Nitties, Matthew Millar, Michael Wright, Jason Norris, Michael Long, Brett Rankin, Daniel Valente, Matt Guyatt and Brad Shilton. They are all currently in the top-10 at the South Pacific Open.

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