DELAWARE -- Last year in Montreal, Dave Bunker took home the title as the top 40-and-over golfer at the Canadian Mid-Amateur golf championship.
This time at the Oaks, he's in position to win the whole ball of wax.
The 41-year-old Woodbridge native carded a three-under-par 69 and, at eight-under through three rounds, holds a four-shot lead over defending champ Kris Wasylowich of Lethbridge heading into today's final 18 holes.
There was little danger of Bunker jeopardizing his edge with some early celebration last night -- a three-hour rain delay followed by swinging in weather that felt like 40 C sucked that urge right out of him.
"I'm looking at a nice dinner and then early to bed," he said.
"It was just a long day. It felt like the round was taking longer than usual."
Bunker finished seven shots behind Wasylowich at last year's tournament for players 25 and older. He's nearly a shoo-in to take home a second straight Mid-Masters crown but he'd like to add the big President's Cup trophy for the first time too.
"It would be nice," he said. "I've been playing well all week. I had a couple of bogeys that ruined a good front nine but I came back right away on the back and made a couple of birdies."
Bunker finished with a bogey on the monster 620-yard, par-5 finishing hole but nearly everyone struggled with the 18th. The average for the hole was 5.51 yesterday.
"I just can't get this hole," Bunker said. "I made birdie the first day but it's been bogey-bogey the last two days. It's narrow on the approach and you can't get the ball anywhere close to the hole."
It would be in Bunker's best interest to take the last hole out of the equation by wrapping up the tournament early today. But he knows there will be plenty of golfers planning to make a run at him and make him play well for a fourth straight day.
"The 18th been tough on everyone so I know if I get to the last couple of holes, everyone will be in the same boat," he said.
Wasylowich, who sits at four-under after a one-under 71 yesterday, has become the hunter rather than the hunted as he was last year. He ran away from Bunker and Co. to capture the title last year.
"You always want to be the leader going into the final round -- if someone's going to give you a three or four shot lead, you'll take it every time," he said. "I thought the course played pretty easy out there. There's one more day and we'll see what happens."
Londoner Jay Campbell of Westminster Trails had a great start with a three-under front nine by stringing together three straight birdies on four, five and six to pull himself into second place behind Bunker. But like a lot of golfers yesterday, he struggling to a 42 on the back side (and a round of 75).
He is at plus-two for the tournament and tied for 12th, a spot he shares with fellow local Lee French, who had a three-under 69.
"It was going well for a while," Campbell said. "It was tough with the delay.
"We were supposed to tee off at 11 a.m. and didn't get out until 1:40 p.m. so it made for a long day. When you're mentally tired, it's tough to get anything going but I'm happy with the way I've been hitting it and it's one more day to see how it goes. I finished tied for 27th last year so to be in the top 30 is pretty good."
In June, Campbell was one of the final qualifiers for the tournament by finishing 31st in the Ontario Mid-Am at Port Hope. Bunker won.
London golfer Colin Glasgow of Sunningdale used the early morning delay to drop in at work.
He came back in time shoot a 77 with a six-over 42 on the back nine in the withering conditions.
I went into work for a bit just to clear up a few e-mails," he said. "With the late start, the way the conditions were and how hot it got, it made for a very long end to a very long day.
Londoner Warren Sye had his best round with one-under 71 to stand at five-over, Dorchester's Jeff Van Vliet carded a three-over 75 and is five-over total while Delaware's Walt Spivak ended up six-over 78 and is nine-over heading into the final 18 holes.
Calgary's Dale Goehring had the round of the day with a four-under 68 and is one-over for the tourney.
Dave Bunker 68-71-69-208
Kris Wasylowich 67-74-71-212
Richard Ross 72-69-72-213
Sebastien Levasseur 70-75-70-215
Scott Hickerson 74-73-69-216
Justin Fluit 72-74-70-216
William Hutcheson 72-72-72-216
Dale Goehring 75-74-68-217
Tony MacKinnon 77-70-70-217
Glenn Robinson 77-68-72-217
Matthew Ion-Young 74-69-74-217