Bunkowsky wants to be ready for se­nior open

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - GARRY MCKAY

Barb Bunkowsky says she’s been think­ing about it ever since the USGA made the an­nounce­ment last year.

That’s when the United States Golf As­so­ci­a­tion, the gov­ern­ing body for the sport south of the bor­der, con­firmed they were adding a U.S. Se­nior Women’s Open to their tour­na­ment sched­ule next year.

“I think the min­i­mum age is go­ing to be 50, and if so I’ll qual­ify be­cause I’m 58,” said the for­mer Burling­ton na­tive who now calls Florida’s West Palm Beach home.

“I’m hop­ing I don’t have to qual­ify, but if I do, I will go and try to qual­ify.”

Bunkowsky says she is try­ing to get out and play, es­pe­cially com­pet­i­tively, as of­ten as she can.

“I’ve been work­ing on my game and I’m go­ing to keep play­ing in as many LPGA Le­gends Tour­na­ments as I can be­cause I play dif­fer­ently in tour­na­ments. I have a lot more but­ter­flies in tour­na­ments.”

Bunkowsky played her ama­teur golf out of Burling­ton Springs Golf and Coun­try Club, which her fa­ther Larry built and which is still op­er­ated by her brother and sis­ter.

She won the On­tario Women’s Ama­teur in 1981, turned pro and joined the LPGA Tour in 1983, and cap­tured the Chrysler-Ply­mouth Char­ity Clas­sic the fol­low­ing year, com­ing from be­hind in the fi­nal round to beat Muf­fin Spencer-Devlin by four shots.

It would turn out to be her only win. She re­tired in 2000.

“I got mar­ried in 1995 and had my daugh­ter, Alexa, in 1998,” says Bunkowsky. “I tried to bribe her into play­ing golf but I could never get her to go for it. She doesn’t play it. In­stead, she played bas­ket­ball.”

Bunkowsky was an agent for the Amer­i­can in­sur­ance gi­ant Aflac for four years, but the urge to get back into the sport was too great.

“I’ve gone into golf full time as a teacher,” she says. “I give pri­vate lessons and I do golf schools and sum­mer camps. I love teach­ing. I ab­so­lutely love it.

“I’ve been go­ing to all the schools and try­ing to get to know their play­ers, and I’m try­ing to set up a USGA/LPGA themes clinic ev­ery month and then grow it.”

Bunkowsky says she’d re­ally love to find that one ju­nior that she can teach and men­tor right through to the LPGA Tour.

“That would be fun be­cause I have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence to share.”

Bunkowsky would also love to hear from Cana­di­ans, men or women who head down to the West Palm Beach area over the win­ter and would like to have a les­son while they’re down there.

You can reach her through her web­site, bunky.vp­web.com, or by email at bunky36@com­cast.net.

In­ci­den­tally, it was just an­nounced last week that Bunkowsky will be in­ducted into the Burling­ton Sports Hall of Fame. That cer­e­mony will take place at the Burling­ton G&CC on May 30, and Bunkowsky has told or­ga­niz­ers that she will at­tend.

Tick­ets are $50 and can be pur­chased through Ron Lam­bert at 289-962-1254.

** * Whole-in-one: The fi­nal Macken­zie Tour-PGA Tour Canada Qschool is un­der­way at Crown Isle Re­sort in Courte­nay, B.C.

The Cana­di­ans in the field in­clude Blair Hamil­ton and J.J. Re­gan, both from Burling­ton.

Golf cour­ses that would like to see tour­na­ment re­sults and holesin-one in this col­umn should email them to gar­rym­ckay1@rogers.com

Garry McKay is a vet­eran, award-win­ning golf jour­nal­ist and a for­mer sports­writer with The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor. gar­rym­ckay1@rogers.com

KAZ NO­VAK, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Barb Bunkowsky is pic­tured in 1997, three years be­fore she re­tired from the LPGA. To­day, she teaches the game in Florida, where she lives.

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