Smith takes the crown in Bunker championship


PSC golf Bunker Boys @ The Ranch

Monday, Jan. 20, Crystal Bay B & A – Stableford

Today was our last game before the annual two-day Bunker Boy’s championship to be held on Wednesday and Friday, and twenty seven golfers turned out to fine tune their skills on what is generally considered to be one of the more forgiving courses on our regular schedule. 

Once again the weather was cool and sunny with a stiff breeze blowing off the sea, which made club selection tricky on several holes.  We were playing behind a large group of Scandanavian tourists and the outward nine was played at a snail’s pace, but fortunately the pace of play picked up a little on the inward nine.

Bunker champion Paul Smith (centre) - “which way’s the hole?”Bunker champion Paul Smith (centre) – “which way’s the hole?”

As expected the scores were generally good and eight golfers played to their handicap or better, but what wasn’t expected was an outstanding performance from Gary Austin.  Gary has seen has handicap go up by three shots following a string of disappointing performances over the last several weeks, but suddenly he re-found his form and came back to the clubhouse with a great score of 40 points, taking the overall win one shot clear of Keith Norman, who took the honours in the A Flight.

A Flight

1st Keith Norman (13) 39pts

2nd Ian Milne (15) 37pts

3rd Keichi Kasama (8) 36pts

B Flight

1st Gary Austin (19) 40pts

2nd Jack Robertson (27) 37pts

3rd Mashi Kaneta (16) 36pts

Near Pins: Geoff Parker, John Graham, Paul Smith and Tony Robbins.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, Greenwood – Championship Medal Day 1

A field of 31 golfers turned up at the Ranch to contest the first day of the world famous Bunkerboys golf championship.  The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect for a good walk to be spoilt by golf.

After check-in with several golfers sporting the new championship shirt, we loaded up for the long drive up the 331, that is everyone except for Michael Brett, who had accidentally been left behind by a driver who shall not be named, oh go on then it was Rab.  Fortuitously the last vehicle was just departing so he frantically flagged it down and surprisingly it had room for himself and clubs.

50 minutes later we were at the course, which was quiet except for another society, but with 3 nines (A and B designated for Bunkerboys) this wasn’t a problem and we teed off around 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

Fairways were dry and hard, which is fairly normal for this time of year unless the course has access to large quantities of water.  Greens were a bit variable speed wise but generally fast and gave a lot of golfers great difficulty, regularly disappearing off the back.  A strong gusty wind added to the problems, why is it that it always seems to change direction and be straight into your face?

Due to the competition, the four-balls played together according to handicap with the supposedly better players teeing off first.  This format worked well and the whole field moved along at a good pace with no holdups – very pleasant after recent rounds.

Overall a good number of the golfers struggled on the day to master the course/conditions with only 3 golfers hitting to handicap or better.  Best score on the board belonged to Paul Smith, playing off 4 and carding a very good net 68.  Following closely behind with a net 69 was Raleigh Gosney, who could have been in the lead but triple bogied the last after going OB.  In third place for the championship, Richard Baldotto netted 72 with Barry Murnin a shot behind with a 73.

A Flight

1st Paul Smith (4) net 68

2nd Barry Murnin (17) net 73

3rd Peter Kelly (13) net 74

4th Mark Stanley (10) net 74

B Flight

1st Raleigh Gosney (20) net 69

2nd Richard Baldotto (25) net 72

3rd Michael Brett (20) net 74

4th Ken Elmore (21) net 75

Near Pins: Gary Austin (2), Duncan Lee, and Barry Murnin

Friday, Jan. 24, Bangpra – Championship Medal Day 2

33 golfers congregated in the Ranch ready to do battle over the fairways of Bangpra on day 2 to win the coveted Bunkerboys championship.  Alongside this competition everybody was also in contention over a stableford tournament to add interest for those golfers who had not quite played up to their expectations on day 1.

The championship leaders were out first on a bright and slightly breezy day, conditions were dry underfoot with the greens playing marginally slower than their normal fast speeds.  The scene was set with around half a dozen golfers realistically in contention, needing to play very well on this difficult course to overhaul  the current leader and odds on favourite, Paul Smith.

The course is always busy but the leading group teed off slightly ahead of schedule.  First drama of the day unfolded on the par 3 second hole where Ian Milne topped his ball into the water.  He spotted his prized possession close to the edge, and in his attempt at retrieval did his best impression at trialling for the Sochi Olympics inverted toboggan team.  The black plastic water trap liner was slick but fortunately Ian managed to avoid the fate of his ball by inches but was unable to scramble his way out.

In the meantime his playing companions had reached the green and were unaware of his predicament, until they eventually spotted him and with the aid of a club, he was saved to continue his round.

Up ahead Paul Smith was playing steady golf and nobody was managing to get within a couple of shots to mount a serious challenge.  Closest of the bunch was Raleigh Gosney who trailed Paul by 1 shot at the start of play but his 2 over par for the day couldn’t quite match Paul’s par score.

The stableford competition produced some very respectable scores with Ian Milne shrugging off his near soaking and carding 38 pts to take A flight.  In B flight Eddie Kelly just edged out Geoff Hart on count back with championship runner-up Raleigh Gosney and Michael Brett making up the podium.

In the championship sub categories, Peter Hapgood again ran away with the “golf club releasing specialist” title, although his career seems to be on the wane with diminishing distances over previous years.  The inaugural “most colour coordinated golfer” division belonged to a very orange Colin Greig although he vehemently denied he had matching underwear.  This could not be verified as the judges refused to inspect the evidence.

Overall Championship

1st Paul Smith (4) net 140

2nd Raleigh Gosney (20) net 143

3rd Ian Milne (15) net 145

A Flight

1st Ian Milne (15) 38pts

2nd Colin Greig (8) 37pts

3rd Paul Smith (4) 36pts

4th Dave Ashman (14) 36pts

B Flight

1st Eddie Kelly (19) 36pts

2nd Geoff Hart (26) 36pts

3rd Raleigh Gosney (20) 34pts

4th Michael Brett (20) 32pts

Near Pins:  Duncan Lee, Peter Kelly, Rab McDonald and Colin Greig

Note:  The Bunker Boys are a PSC affiliated golf society who play three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  We meet at The Ranch at 9 a.m. for breakfast and transportation, and new players are always welcome.  Contact “Buff” on 086 046 5091 or 080 605 5663 for all enquiries or go to website www.