There’s someone in the Australian Women’s Classic who really hopes that Bonville remains “Steph friendly”.
Steph Bunque, 24, has been on the fringe of taking the “next big step” for a couple of years now – and edged a little closer with an opening 68 at Bonville today.
And she need only take a look at the honour roll for easy inspiration.
Steph Kyriacou, the champ last time around in Bonville pre-Covid, was an amateur with hopes more than plans when she streeted the field in 2020.
The Sydneysider was a friend and rival of Bunque through their amateur careers and now the Victorian is in a position to dare to dream of the doors that have since opened for Kyriacou.
“Absolutely. Especially seeing what Steph did last time here and seeing how her career has just sky-rocketed after that is really inspiring and I hope to do something similar this week,” said Bunque, who had no idea she’d played the last five holes today in five under today to move within one of early leader Meghan MacLaren.
“I had a lengthy putt drop on 14th, which is unusual for me,” she said of the first of her two late eagles.
“Then on 18, I hit this horrendous hybrid (for my second) but it plugged just outside the hazard so I got to take relief, and my third apparently went one hop and in.”
That unlikely finish was greeted with enormous roars from the clubhouse precinct, with several keen Bunque fans – and her Coffs Harbour billet family – in raptures.
“Yeah, I’ve got a few locals following me around, especially the Schoeffel family who I’ve stayed with here for four years and they’re my number one fan base,” Bunque said gratefully.
“Being alone and so far from home can be a bit daunting, so it’s always nice to have a few familiar faces around.”
Earlier, Bunque had been two over through seven holes after making a meal of the par-5 seventh. But the powerful second-year pro added birdies on the ninth, tenth and 15th holes around her two eagles to make her move.