Bunker keeps it together

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:27 AM ET

The Oaks is known for a tough back nine and it lived up to that reputation yesterday in the second round of the Canadian Mid-Amateur championship yesterday.

The golf course was spanked some in the first round with leader Chris Markle taming it with a six-under 66 and Kris Wasylowich shooting 67.

But both players gave shots back on the back nine yesterday. Markle, from Cobourg, couldn't get anything going. He struggled from the start, finishing with a 76. He's two-under for the tournament.

Wasylowich had it as low as seven-under but ran into trouble down the stretch. He stumbled in at two-over on the day, three-under on the tournament.

The guy who held it together was Dave Bunker. The Woodbridge golfer went into the day tied for third at four-under, two back of Markle and tied with Victoria's Ben Griffin. He shot one-under on the day to get to five-under -- despite bogeying the 18th -- and leads the tournament by one shot over Toronto's Scott Sinclair, who also shot a 71 yesterday.

Two back are Wasylowich and Uxbridge's Richard Ross.

Jay Campbell, who plays out of Westminster Trails, shot 73 and is the top local player at 143, four back of the lead. Former Londoner Bill Hutcheson is at even-par 144. Dorchester's Jeff Van Vliet was two-over on the day, 146 in the tournament.

Players began the day in calm conditions but as the day progressed a changing wind began to blow. It dried the greens and made hitting the ball in the fairway difficult.

The back nine, especially the finishing three holes, took its toll on a number of players who were looking to make a run.

"We played the first eight or nine holes in no wind at all," Bunker said. "Then we made the turn on 10 and it was howling. We came up 18 and the wind was howling in our face again. The wind is tricky because it's blowing around and maybe the pins are in a little trickier spots, around slopes."

The 18th is a tough enough hole without a wind blowing at you. It's a par-5 straight uphill.

"The last three holes are tough but there's enough par-fives where if you make enough pars then you're thinking, 'I have a par-five coming up. I got a chance to make a birdie,' " Bunker said. "I hit the ball really well until 18, where I hit my second shot in the fescue. Then I wasn't too happy. But for the most part, I played really well today. I didn't get many putts to go in, but I had a lot of pars."

Wasylowich was seven under when he made the turn. But the back nine got him. He was four over.

"The wind just got me a bit and not making any putts just caught up to me," the defending champion from Alberta said. "The wind totally changed the way the course was set up. What we were doing in the front nine was totally different on the back."

Wasylowich said for the first 15 holes, he hit the ball as well as he did in the first round, but was discouraged he couldn't make any putts.

"At 10, 11, 12, I left a shot out there and after that I just let go. But the tournament's not anywhere close to being over. I just have to go out there and make some putts."

First-round leader Markle had a short explanation for his tough second round.

"The putter," he said. "I didn't hit them in very good spots either, but the putter wasn't there."

You have to putt well to win a golf tournament, but Bunker says at The Oaks this week you have to "get it in the fairway."

"The rough here is thick. It's not long, but it's heavy enough to affect shots," he said. "If you can get it in the fairway, you have a chance to get the ball on the green. They're rolling really well. If you get a chance from 20, 15, 10 feet, you have a chance to roll them in because the greens are very smooth and rolling well. They hold well on the approaches."

The Ontario team of Bunker, Markle, former Western golfer Scott Hickerson and Jesse Maytham won the interprovincial competition by six strokes over Alberta.

The cut was 152.

MID-AM LEADERBOARD

Dave Bunker - 68-71-139

Scott Sinclair 69-71-140

Kris Wasylowich 67-74-141

Richard Ross 72-69-141

Chris Markle 66-76-142

Matthew Ion-Young 74-69-143

Graham Cooke 71-72-143

Ben Griffin 68-75-143

Jay Campbell 70-73-143

William Hutcheson 72-72-144

Senan Foley 72-73-145

Garth Collings 73-72-145

Sebastien Levasseur 70-75-145

Greg Koster 75-70-145

Kevin Temple 74-71-145

Mike Mannion 74-71-145

David Schultz 72-73-145

Sandy Harper 73-72-145

Glenn Robinson 77-68-145


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