The week before the Australian men’s senior amateur championship, David Bagust took a boat with his wife, sister and brother-in-law and sailed around the Whitsundays, forgetting about golf. It worked a treat for the businessman from Port Macquarie.
Bagust, 62, arrived at Maroochy River Golf Club for this year’s nationals on a mission; today, he took the lead into the third and final round and held on to win by two shots.
It is the New South Welshman’s biggest-ever triumph in any form of golf. He had only played once previously in the national championship, although he is a former club champion at St Michaels in Sydney, and captain of his district in Port Macquarie, his adopted hometown since 1996.
He came up the 18th hole knowing he had a three-shot lead over fellow-New South Welshman Peterson, who ended up finishing second. “I didn’t put the drive in the water,” he said. “I told (playing partner) Ian Frost ‘I’m hitting my ball over the green’. Which I did, but I got up and down for par.”
Bagust shot 74-71-71 to finish even-par overall, good scoring in windy conditions. Later, he headed off for a well-deserved celebratory drink with family and friends.
“It was always a little tense,’’ he said. “I’ve never been in that situation before. I’ve got to say the people I played with were very friendly, Lester Peterson and (Queenslander) Ian Frost. I’d played with Ian the two previous days and we were encouraging each other and Lester’s a gentleman. That made it that bit easier.’’
Victoria’s Gordon Claney, the defending champion, finished third.
“I got a little stale a couple of weeks ago,’’ said Bagust, who has twice been runner-up in Port Macquarie’s club championship. “I spent the week in the Whitsundays without a golf club near me, and that was probably the best preparation that I could have had. I work for myself (running an internet service provider) and I can play pretty much when I want, and I practise a bit, and I’d overdone it.”
Victoria’s team of Claney, Greg Rhodes, Colin George and Steve Valentine won the teams event.
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