Bungard ticks NZ title off list

St Clair golfer Phil Bungard receives the New Zealand mid-amateur trophy from New Zealand golf...
St Clair golfer Phil Bungard receives the New Zealand mid-amateur trophy from New Zealand golf stalwart Neil Woodbury, after whom the trophy is named, at the Clearwater club on Sunday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Phil Bungard did not know much about the tournament he was entering but he was determined to be a national champion.

The St Clair player won the New Zealand men’s mid-amateur, for golfers aged 30 and over, at his first attempt at the Clearwater club on Sunday — his 37th birthday.

He was one shot off the pace after carding a 1-over 74 in the opening round, and four shots off the lead — in fifth place — with a 76 in the second.

The stars aligned on the Christchurch course in the third and final round as Bungard lapped the field with a sizzling 69 to win the tournament by five shots.

"It didn’t come from nowhere but the main thing was I didn’t do stupid stuff like put balls in the water," Bungard said.

"I just played really solid golf. The greens were pretty fast, and it was quite windy, and everyone else seemed to fall over a bit."

Sam McGill, who plays out of Bungard’s former Templeton club, was second, and former champions Adam Church (Judgeford) and Brent Curnow (Mt Maunganui) tied for third.

Rachel Eder won the women’s tournament on her home course, beating Southlander Olivia Frost in a playoff.

Bungard, the development officer at Golf Otago, has plenty of experience under his belt in national and provincial tournaments but had not really had the mid-amateur on his radar until this summer.

"I didn’t know a lot about it, but apparently it’s quite common around the world to have these mid-amateur tournaments.

"I didn’t even hear about it until last year, when one of our boys actually played in it. I asked him more about it and thought, ‘yeah, I want to play in that’.

"My sole goal was, right, this is the only time I’m going to get a New Zealand medal, so I want to win.

"I just really wanted to have that national medal."

Next year’s New Zealand mid-amateur tournament is at the Omanu club, in Bay of Plenty, and Bungard is keen to defend his title.

"It’s a really fun tournament, and it was nice to see some of the guys I’d played against when I was really young."

It completes an excellent summer for Bungard, who won the Otago matchplay championship for the first time in October.




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