Steph Bunque was prepared for a showdown – and the Victorian delivered.
The 21-year-old powerhouse sealed a gritty two-shot victory at Royal Adelaide, edging out Japan’s Yuna Nishimura to win the 2019 Rene Erichsen Salver.
A member at Victoria Golf Club on Melbourne’s Sandbelt, Bunque held the lead throughout the final 36 holes, with playing partner Grace Kim falling away late after a disappointing six-over in her final nine holes.
Challengers came from the recent Riversdale Cup victor Nishimura and a blossoming Cassie Porter with a neat six under 67.
But a closing three-under-par 70 round was enough for the VIS athlete to secure her first victory in 14 months.
“I had good vibes coming into this week,” an ecstatic Bunque said.
“I know I had been playing pretty well and Riversdale last week was a confidence booster.”
Bunque was superb over the four rounds firing scores of 72-66-71-70 to finish 13 under par.
The World No. 227 was forced to battle hard with bogies on 12 and 13 threatening her title chances before settling her nerves with critical birdies on 16 and 17.
“The course was awesome and the greens were carved to perfection, although I do remember them being a bit quicker last year,” she said.
“After the first round I didn’t play as well as I thought I would, but I knew it was there so I hung in and stuck to my game plan, and it all worked out!
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Nishimura, of Napara Golf Club, was gallant in attempting back-to-back wins after her breakthrough international win at Riversdale Golf Club last week.
Queenslander Porter, 16, was particularly impressive, storming home with seven birdies to finish a further shot back in outright third.
Western Australia’s Kathryn Norris, Japan’s Sora Kamiya and Korean Min A Yoon shared fourth.