Eyes On A Title: North’s Bunker hopes to contend for state championship

Columbus North’s Ava Bunker has set two school records as a freshman this season, and there’s one more piece she’d like to add.

Bunker has her eyes set on the girls golf state championship, which is set to begin Friday and conclude Saturday at Prairie View Golf Course in Carmel.

Bunker said she shouldn’t be nervous going into the tournament since she has played against similar type of competition in tournaments across the country.

“I’m going to treat this like any other tournament,” Bunker said. “I’m going to go through my normal routines and treat this like a normal tournament.”

Bunker set a school record with a 5-under-par 66 in the Bloomington North Invitational Sept. 10 at Cascades and tied it with another 66 in the Bloomington North Sectional Sept. 19, also at Cascades. She shot a 2-under 70 in the Franklin Regional at the Legends Saturday to earn medalist honors there, as well. Bunker also owns the nine-hole school record with a 6-under 30 in a match at Timbergate on Aug. 16.

She’ll be competing at state as an individual after the Bull Dogs failed to qualify as a team when they finished fifth at the regional. Bunker will be teeing off on the first hole at 10:45 a.m. on Friday, along with Western junior Elizabeth Mercer and Crown Point senior Kenzie Wilson.

“I’ve got to make sure all of (my game) is good,” Bunker said. “If my drives are good, I’ll have good approach shots, and that will set me up with good putts. I have to make sure my chipping and putting is good if I do have a problem with my shots.”

Bunker shot a 2-over 74 during the State Preview tournament last month at Prairie View. If she can shoot under par both days, she’ll be in great position to be in contention for the title. The early forecasts indicate comfortable conditions with temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s during the day with no threat of rain.

“I think she’s got as good of a chance as anyone else. She’s got a lot of experience playing in big tournaments across the country,” North coach Scott Seavers said. “She knows how to win, but it takes a little bit of luck, as well, depending on what your tee time is and the weather and a couple bounces here and there. She’s really good, and I think she has as good of a chance as anyone. I’m looking forward to this weekend and couldn’t be happier for her.”

Regardless of how she performs, Bunker is humbled and blessed to be having the experience and opportunity of playing in the state finals. She’s glad all of her hard work has paid off.

“It’s really exciting. That was my goal to make it there,” Bunker said. “I’m glad I did make it because I wanted to show that hard work and determination that I can make it to state.”