BY ROBERT GAUTNEY Californian staff writer Gautney@att.net
The next couple of weeks will be huge for Meggan Bunker.
The 25-year-old PGA apprentice at Bakersfield Country Club will be playing in the National Car Rental SCPGA Assistants' Championship in Temecula at the Journey at Pechanga on July 29. It's a qualifier for the National PGA Assistants' Championship in Florida in November.
But before that she will have an audition for the Golf Channel's "Big Break" in Arizona the day before.
"I'm excited," says Bunker, who turned pro in 2011 after the Kern County Woman's Amateur Championship. "This will be my second audition for "The Big Break." I tried out for it last year and didn't make it, but I feel really good about it this time. They wouldn't have called me back if they weren't interested."
Bunker (formerly Bellows) won the Women's Kern County Amateur in 2008 and 2010 and was runner-up in 2011 before turning professional. Prior to that, she played four years at CSUB and prepped at Centennial, graduating in 2006 where she was a multiple All-Area selection.
In 2012, Bunker was the runner-up for the So Cal Women's PGA Player of the Year and so far this year, Bunker says she is right at the top again.
"They haven't updated the points standings yet," says Bunker, "but I've played in every event and won a couple so I think I am right near or at the top."
In her latest event last week, Bunker won at Rancho Santa Fe GC when she shot a 2-under-par 72, which was just a single shot from the ladies course record of 71. In June, Bunker won again at Annandale GC in Pasadena. After that June event, Bunker was second in the standings to Courtney Erdman.
Should Bunker play well enough in the 36-hole tournament on July 29, she would advance to the PGA National Assistant's Championship Nov. 1-3 at PGA National in Port St. Lucie. But she will have to play her best to do it.
"They only take the top three or four, so you need to shoot right around par to have a chance," says Bunker who hopes to earn her PGA Class "A" card by the middle of next year. "That would be really awesome to qualify and go back there and play."
And after this month, Bunker is slated to play in the SCPGA Northern Chapter Championship in August at River Ridge in Oxnard and then the So Cal PGA Section Championship at Mission Hills GC in Rancho Mirage in September.
By then though, Bunker may be a mini celebrity but she won't be able to tell anyone if she gets picked for "Big Break."
"From what I hear, if you are chosen you get a phone call and you have to leave the next day and they don't tell you where you are going. Then it's a two-week competition with a show taped every day. Once it's done, you can't tell anyone what happened until the show airs."
Bunker says her boss at BCC, Director of Golf Bruce Burroughs, is understanding of the fact that he might get a phone call from Bunker one night telling him she will be gone for two weeks, but he is also excited at the prospect of Bunker making the show.
"Yeah, he is all for it," says Bunker. "He says it will be good exposure for the club and for Bakersfield , so he is hoping I get picked this time too."
With a last name like Bunker and a golf game to go along with it, Meggan Bunker seems like the ideal player for a show like "Big Break." Let's hope she gets that call.
34th Bakersfield City Amateur
The 34th Bakersfield City Amateur Championship will be played July 27-28 at Sundale Country Club and there are still spots left to participate.
The "City" as it is usually referred to, is one of two events that are at the top of the "to accomplish" list for all area amateur players, whether it be in the championship flight, the handicapped division or the senior flight.
"There are still spots left so everyone that is thinking about playing should just come on out to the course and sign-up," says Sundale pro Dave Bolar. "The course is in great shape and it's always an enjoyable tournament."
The entry is $120 and that includes two rounds of golf, a Saturday lunch, a tee prize and awards. The deadline for entry is July 24 at 5 pm.
The tournament is part of the Michelob Ultra/Sports Authority Player of the Year Series where players earn points for top 10 finishes in championship flight play. Call (661)831-5224 for more information or to sign-up to play.
KCJGA weekly winners
The weekly Kern County Junior Golf Association tournament was held at Rio Bravo CC on Tuesday with Tyler Burns winning the boys 16-17 with a 75 and Lexi Keene winning the girls 14-17 with a 76.
The boys 14-15 winner was Warren Miller, the Boys 12-13 winner was Jared Bae with an 87 while Donovan Simos and Hayden Hughes tied with 51s in the boys 10-11. The boys 9U winner was David Chuuon-Chan who carded a 46.
The girls 13U flight was a tie between Madi Daniel and Ann Verrett, who each shot 50. Next week, the KCJGA will be at Bakersfield CC on Monday.
Patel in action again this week
Local pro Bhavik Patel is playing this week on the Web.com Tour in Overland Park, Kan., in the Midwest Classic. Patel shot 4-over 75 in the opening round on Thursday and was in danger of not making the cut this week.
Last week, Patel shot 69-67-64-72 to finish 33rd in the Utah Championship and now has earned just over $86,000 for the year which placed him 30th entering this week's event.
BCC hosts U.S. Amateur Sectional
Bakersfield Country Club will host one of six Southland U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifying tournaments over the next few weeks on July 29.
It is not known how many spots will be up for grabs in the 36-hole one-day event, but typically 2-3 spots will advance to the U.S. Amateur Championship which will be Aug. 12-17 at The Country Club of Brookline in Brookline, Mass.
According to the SCGA website, there are 17 Bakersfield amateurs who will be competing for a chance to play in our country's showcase amateur event. Besides those 17, Pete Fernandez, Jr., and Manav Shah will also be competing at other courses. Fernandez will be at Mission Viejo CC and Shah at Fairbanks Ranch CC in Rancho Santa Fe.
-- The 20th Santa Maria Valley Amateur Championship will be July 27-28 at the Rancho Maria GC. There will be a championship flight and two handicapped flights. Entry is $175. Call (805)937-2019 to get more information.
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