St Clair golf shop assistant Phillip Bungard is keen to
return to competition golf. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Phillip Bungard, a shop assistant at the St Clair golf
shop, is jumping out of his skin to get back to playing
Bungard (27) moved to St Clair three years ago to take up a
trainee apprenticeship as a professional golfer under the
guidance of club professional Neal Metcalfe.
But watching his mates play in the men's interprovincial
event at Balmacewen last week, and being at the hub of
organisation for the women's tournament this week, has made
him more determined to play plenty of competitive golf.
Bungard has applied to regain his amateur status but, as he
accepted prize money in trainee championships, he cannot
return to amateur competition until September next year.
''I just want to get back to playing plenty of golf and would
like to represent Otago again in the Toro tournament,'' he
Bungard played in the Otago top quintet at Mt Maunganui in
2007 and Greenacres in Nelson the following year.
He started playing golf in Omarama at the age of 10 and
played most of his schoolboy golf on the North Otago course
after his family moved to Oamaru.
When he left school he studied a turf course management
course in Cromwell before becoming the assistant green keeper
at Chisholm Park. His greenkeeping skills have come in handy
in recent weeks as he has assisted in the preparation of the
course for the interprovincial.
Bungard enjoys working at St Clair and hopes he can continue
to work at the club, despite ditching his apprenticeship.
Otago has lost many talented golfers in recent years but
there are two other former Otago representatives who are
going against the trend and returning home.
Former No 1 Cameron Beel returns from a green keeping stint
in the United States while Mark Brooks has also returned from
overseas to work in Central Otago.