Stephanie Bunque has emerged as the clubhouse leader after carding an eventful four-under-par 68 in today’s opening round of the Australian Women’s Classic – Bonville.
It was, however, a round more akin to a roller coaster ride than a pleasant walk for the young Victorian gun around the spectacular Bonville layout.
When Bunque made a two-metre eagle putt on the par-5 14th at Bonville Golf Resort, she had raced out to a three-shot lead and those watching were thinking how low can she go?.
Her next three holes made for interesting reading though; bogey, birdie, and a rinsed tee shot on the signature 17th for an ill-timed double bogey.
Thankfully, a timely – but nerve wracking – four footer for par on the last was enough for her to finish the day with a one-shot lead from South Australian Kristalle Blum.
Bunque admitted the late mistakes were “unfortunate” but was still happy to be holding the lead.
“The double on 17 was an untimely bad shot. I did hit a couple of weird shots throughout the round, so the one on 17 wasn’t something that I hadn’t experienced earlier in the day so at the end of the day it was kind of an untimely error which was a bit unfortunate but 4-under is still a pretty tidy round,” Bunque said.
“There was an eagle in there and a few putts dropped when they probably shouldn’t have and a few putts missed when they probably shouldn’t have so at the end of the day it was a good day, I’m happy with it.”
Blum started her day in tremendous fashion with a birdie on the 1st hole.
It was a hole that more than a third of the field recorded a bogey or worse on, but Blum’s laser-like 8-iron approach helped set her up for a good day.
“On a hole like that you sort of feel like that (a birdie) is good, let’s try and keep it going from there,” Blum said.
“You always feel better when you make a birdie early and that sort of hole you’d be happy to walk off with par every day of the week.”
Blum made a further three birdies throughout the day, including the 13th hole, which meant she birdied the two holes that had given her the most trouble in the past.
Danni Vasquez, Breanna Gill, New Zealander Wenyung Keh and 15-year-old amateur Ann Jang all recorded rounds of 70 to be tied for third place just two strokes behind the leader.
Playing in the second to last group, 17-year-old NSW Junior Representative Ella Scaysbrook joined the two-under party courtesy of a sublime seven-wood followed by a chip to under a foot for birdie on her last hole for the day.
“I look at the positives of it, so six birdies is positive. I don’t really look at the negative stuff like the four bogeys because that happens during a round anyway,” a smiling Scaysbrook said.
Wollongong-based Danielle Vazquez held the lead at one stage mid-round. After birdieing the 8th, she upped the ante moments later with a hole-out eagle from 144 metres on the par-four 9th.
“I wanted to hit 7-iron and my caddy made me hit a six,” Vasquez said of the planning for the magical shot.
“I hit a really good shot and it was tracking the flag and there were people sitting up on the hill and I was waiting for them to maybe do a little clap if it was close and then all of a sudden they were jumping up and yelling and I was like ‘oh my God, I holed it’.”
From then on, it was steady as she went for the final year Associate Profesional.
And steady was exactly what rising Central Coast junior Ann Jang was throughout the day as she showed maturity beyond her years to record a bogey-free two-under.
The New South Wales Golf Club member had previous experience at Bonville while playing Jack Newton Junior Golf and was clearly in form after winning the Junior TPS Hunter Valley a month ago.
Jang said that she was oblivious about where she was placed on the leaderboard was also a blessing.
“There are so many good players here so I thought I’ll be in the middle-ish,” the teen said.
“It’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”