GRAVENHURST, Ont. — Make it a hat trick for Woodbridge’s Dave Bunker at the Golf Association of Ontario’s (GAO) Investors Group Mid-Amateur Championship. The Brampton Golf Club member was able to hang on to his lead from round two to claim the 2014 title at 2-over for the tournament (70-70-75), June 25 at Taboo Resort in Gravenhurst.
The 49-year-old school teacher came into the final round 2-under for the tournament, a shot ahead of North York’s Charles Fitzsimmons and two better than Peterborough’s Michael Farrugia. However, Bunker got out to a tough start as he bogeyed the first hole and then doubled the second. He would end up three-over at the turn. He was able to settle down on the back nine and only bogeyed the 17th hole. He tapped in on 18 for par and a three-shot win. Bunker also took home the Mid-Masters Championship (40-years and older division).
“It feels good to win three times. To win the match play earlier this season and now here is pretty special,” said Bunker.
Bunker knew that he didn’t begin the way he would have liked ,but explained how he overcame that to end the day on top. “It didn’t start the way I wanted it to. I struggled on the green on one and then hit a poor tee shot on two and it snowballed. But I settled down after that and played ok.”
Luckily for Bunker, the others around him also had their troubles. First round leader, Fitzsimmons (67-74-80), finished the front nine at eight-over and while he did regain his earlier form on the back nine, he still ended the day nine-over and eight-over for the tournament in a tie for eighth.
“I was really surprised when I bogeyed 17 and asked what the leaderboard looked like to find out I had a three-shot lead,” said Bunker. “I didn’t know that everybody else was doing the same thing as our group. It gave me a little relaxation on 18 that I didn’t have to worry too much about somebody being right there with me.
One member of the final group, Farrugia (72-70-76), had his difficulties as well but finished the day five-over and was able to hang on for a share of second place at five-over for the tournament.
The story of the day turned out to be Wasaga Beach resident Dean Henry (73-72-73). Henry entered play at three-over for the tournament, but after shooting one of the lower rounds during the final day, two-over, he ended in the tie for second with Farrugia at five-over for the championship.
Throughout the championship, weather was another story with delays and even minor suspensions in play occurring on day two. Bunker talked about how he battled through that. “I played really well in round one and two just staying out of trouble, hitting fairways and greens in regulation and putting really well. The weather was frustrating but everyone had to deal with it.”
Bunker, Farrugia and Henry will now move on to the Canadian Mid-Amateur Championship as the Team Ontario representatives for the inter-provincial team competition. The event is scheduled for Sept. 16-19 at the Barrie Country Club.
“I am really looking forward to the Canadian Mid-Am at Barrie,” added Bunker. “Mike and Dean are really good players so we should have a very competitive team.”
As for his preparation for his upcoming events, Bunker isn’t going for anything out of the norm. “I’m just going to keep playing and practicing. I plan to play Barrie this weekend to just check out the course and will probably play it a few times during the summer. I’m also looking forward to the Amateur at North Halton, I played well there last year and I’ll hopefully have a good week.”
The Investors Group Ontario Men’s Mid-Amateur championship is a 54-hole competition featuring Ontario’s best golfers age 25 and older that have gained entry into the event through one of eight qualifying tournaments or through an exemption. Competitors age 40 and over also compete for the Ontario Men’s Mid-Master division trophy. Contested annually since 1993, past champions of the event include Ontario Golf Hall of Fame member Stu Hamilton and Kelly Roberts, Graham Hill and Drew Symons.