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Australian PGA champion Popovic to skip title defense

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Daniel Popovic will not defend his title at next week's Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast in order to contest the European Tour's qualifying tournament in Spain.

The final round of the Australian PGA next Sunday coincides with the first day of the qualifying tournament.

"For my future and career, and looking to the big picture, I have to go to the European Tour school," the 27-year-old Popovic said at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament on Sunday.

"That's my best opportunity of getting to where I want to be with my career, playing against the better players in the world and challenging myself every week."

If he does not win a European Tour card, Popovic will head to either the Japan Tour or secondary U.S. PGA Tour qualifying school, which means he also might miss the Australian Masters and the Australian Open later this month.

(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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