Dave Bunker added his name to a prestigious Florida trophy (FSGA photo)
Canadian amateur golfers -- especially those living in it's most populated province -- know the name Dave Bunker. He's won just about everything, multiple times.
And now, with a win at the Florida Senior Amateur, Bunker has announced himself as a force to be reckoned with in the Sunshine State.
Competing in the three day competition at Bonita Bay in Naples, Bunker posted three straight under-par rounds for a 54-hole total of 6-under 210, three clear of Paul Royak of Tampa. The 2018 Ontario Golf Hall of Fame inductee is took advantage of his new winter residence in Ft. Myers by picking up his first FSGA win. It won't be his last.
"This is our first winter down in Florida," Bunker told the Florida State Golf Association. "I know there are a lot of great names on this trophy and a lot of really great players in Florida, so it's very nice to be able to come out on top today."
And while in mutual funds "past performance doesn't guarantee future results" -- golf is different. Florida senior amateurs are used to "snowbirds" playing their events, but Bunker's easy-to-remember name -- we'll skip the puns -- will now be in the mix for things like the "cup" team, and best-ball tournaments everywhere. (Pick me! Pick me!)
Bunker began the championship with a 1-under 71 on Tuesday to tie eventual runner-up Paul Royak. But both players trailed the red-hot John Gabler (Tampa) by three shots when the relatively unheralded player recorded five birdies and an eagle, en route to a 4-under 68.
But Bunker quickly took over in round two, posting a a bogey-free 69 to take the solo lead, as Gabler shot 76 and Royak kept the leader in sight with his second-straight 71.
Beginning the final round with a two-shot lead, Bunker got off to a solid start with a birdie on the third. His lone hiccup of the day came on the fourth with a bogey, but he made the turn at even par with a three-shot lead over Royak in second.
That's where it would end up, but Bunker actually had a 5-shot lead at one point, after a birdie on the 13th. Royak didn’t go down without a fight -- he eagled the par-5 15th hole and followed it up with a birdie on the 16th to cut Bunker’s lead to two shots with two to play.
Heading to the final hole with a two-shot lead, Bunker rolled in a 10-foot putt for birdie to secure the victory with a final-round 70.
"Very straightforward, didn't get into too much trouble out there today," Bunker said of his final round play. "I had a bad second shot on 15, but got away with a par there. The rest of the day I was just trying to hit fairways and greens. And to not do anything really bad, which thankfully happened."
Royak, the 2020 FSGA Senior Player of the Year, finished runner-up at 3-under 213. He posted rounds of 71-71-71 for the championship. It doesn't get more consistent than that.
Rich Buckner (Hobe Sound) used rounds of 74-71-70 to take third place at 1-under 215, while Bob Mathers (Niceville) finished fourth at 1-over 217, while Brian Keenan of Tampa rounded out the top five with a 2-over 218 for the championship.
ABOUT DAVE BUNKER
Entering the Hall in the Amateur Golfer category (2018) is Brampton’s Dave Bunker. Bunker, 53, has amassed an almost immeasurable amount of championships and accolades. Just some highlights of his career include capturing 15 provincial titles including three Ontario Mid-Master titles, countless course Championships and 8 Canadian titles including The Canadian Mid-Master and Mid-Amateur for three straight seasons.
Bunker has also achieved international success playing in the U.S. Senior Open twice, the Canadian Open twice and has been a part of Team Ontario playing international events around the world. In 2010, Bunker was named Fairways Magazine’s Amateur Player of the Year and 2010 GJAC Canadian Male Amateur Player of the Year.
He has also topped the Ontario Mid-Amateur ranking an incredible eight times. Bunker also holds the club record at six different courses. He is a member of Brampton Golf Club and is a middle school teacher.
-- the FSGA and Golf Ontario contributed to this story
ABOUT THE Florida Senior Amateur
The Senior Championship is for those individuals
over the age of 55. 54 holes of stroke play, with a
to the low 60 and ties after 36 holes. Must be an
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