Higgins, Bunny crowned champions of King Island - PGA of Australia

Higgins, Bunny crowned champions of King Island

Sixth time proved the charm for Cardinia Beaconhills Professional Dylan Higgins who shared victory with Ben Bunny at the 2023 Air Adventure King Island Pro-Am.

Played across the spectacular Cape Wickham and Ocean Dunes courses over two days, the 27 professionals and 81 amateurs made it the largest golf event ever staged on King Island.

As is to be expected in such a setting conditions made scoring challenging, Higgins and Bunny finished locked together on 70 Stableford points from their two rounds.

Two points off the lead at the start of the second round at Ocean Dunes on Tuesday, Higgins began with back-to-back birdies to play his way into the mix.

A double bogey on five, a topped tee shot on 11 and a dreaded shank on 12 only added to the difficulty yet Higgins rebounded with birdies at 13, 16 and 17 for 37 points and the clubhouse lead.

After posting 31 points on Monday and making the turn in two-over courtesy of a birdie at nine, Bunny was an unlikely challenger.

He banked pars at 10 and 11 and then hit driver, driver to three feet at the par-5 12th for a timely eagle.

He backed that up by putting in for birdie from just off the green at 13 and completed a back nine of five-under and 23 points with birdies at 16 and 18, the last a mere tap-in from 30 centimetres.

With shanks having plagued his recent rounds, Higgins came into the event expecting little but used his hosel-rocket at 12 to kick-start his charge to the clubhouse.

“I got a little hot under the collar when I hit that clean hosel on 12,” admitted Higgins, pictured.

“I just told myself that I was probably still in it. It’s not an easy day, it’s a hard golf course and managed to give some really good shots coming in.

“I’d had a pretty good start to the year but the last 10-12 rounds I’ve thought I’ve played OK and hit clean hosels in every single event. The practice round was no exception.

“Yesterday I managed to keep a fairly clean card at Cape Wickham.

“My expectations coming in were minimal but if you chip it around here you can make a score and I was lucky enough to do that.”

A Teaching Professional at both Ranfurlie Golf Club and Woodlands Golf Club in Melbourne, Bunny, too, came in with low expectations.

A prolific winner of pro-ams in the past, Bunny has played little tournament golf the past five years but revelled in his second visit to King Island.

“This is my second trip with the same group and we love it,” said Bunny.

“It’s such a unique experience. Unlimited golf at the courses so we ended up playing 36 holes each day.

“The views are just spectacular, the courses are great, the accommodation’s good, the food’s amazing. It’s just a great experience.

“Playing the last hole I did know where I stood; guys out there were telling us. I didn’t hit a very good tee shot but it was in my favour up the right side.

“I managed to hit a good approach shot to about 30 centimetres from the pin for an easy tap-in birdie.”

Playing in the event for a sixth time with members from The National and Cardinia Beaconhills, Higgins also praised the format and experience.

“I’ve been here six times now. It’s great networking – we bring a group of members each year,” he added.

“The courses are great, the food’s great and everyone looks after us. It’s a real joy to be here.”

Former champion Ashley Hall finished outright third with 69 points followed by a three-way tie for fourth between Matt Jager, Scott Laycock and Peter Martin.

Click here for final scores.

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