Blaine Bunch is like several 17 year-olds. He goes to school, does his homework, likes to hang out with his friends and enjoys cars - fast cars. What separates him from his peers, however, is that he is one of the best golfers in the area.
The South Effingham High School junior was Region 3-AAA’s low-medallist last year and finished third in Class AAA.
Just two weekends ago, he won the Chatham Amateur at Henderson Golf Club, shooting 146 to win by a stroke.
To be this successful takes a lot of hard work.
“Everyday I practice either my driving, putting or my short game,” Bunch said. “I just want to perfect my game.”
Since being introduced to golf by his father, Paul Bunch, seven years ago, Bunch has won or placed high in several tournaments. This past summer competing in the Savannah Junior Golf Association, Bunch won the Deer Creek Golf Club, Savannah Quarters Country Club and Savannah Harbor Golf Club tournaments. He placed second in the Matt Warren Memorial Championship.
In 2006, the SJGA named Bunch the 2006 Boys Player of the Year in its 15-16 age group.
“I am very proud of what he’s accomplished,” Paul Bunch said. “He’s a good golfer and he loves to play.”
Blaine Bunch doesn’t have much of an excuse for not getting to the course. He lives with his father near hole No. 9 at Lost Plantation Golf Club in Rincon, where he won the club’s championship last year.
Bunch said he would love to make a living playing golf.
“I definitely want to play on the PGA Tour,” he said. “I just have to try to keep my head into the game. It’s very mental. If I do that, I will do better.”
Though Bunch is an exceptional golfer, he has had some bad days on the links.
In the Class AAA state tournament last year, he birdied nine holes. However, the pressure seemed to get to him as he double and triple bogeyed toward the end.
“There is a lot of pressure,” Bunch said. “It’s tough, but I just have to not let my nerves take over.”
Paul Bunch said that as Blaine plays in more tournaments his confidence will increase, allowing him to better handle the pressure of sinking shots toward the end of a round.
Even though Blaine would like to play professionally, he said the primary reasons for playing is that it’s fun and keeps getting harder.
“It’s fun. That’s why I keep playing,” he said. “It’s so challenging. I just want to perfect my game. It’s so tough.”
Bunch has played several courses in the Southeast but said the Savannah Golf Club, off President Street, is his favorite.
“I like the layout of the golf course,” he said. “It’s real challenging and you have to hit through the trees.”
Bunch’s favorite part of golf is putting, while he said his strong point is using the irons in the short game. He admitted his weakness is driving, where he averages 290 yards a drive.