Bagust wins first national title

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David Bagust with the championship trophy today: Image: GA

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 golf. It was a treat for the Port Macquarie IT specialist.

Bagust, 62, arrived at Maroochy River Golf Club for this year's nationals on a mission; today he took the lead in the third and final round and held to win by two shots.

It is New South Welshman's greatest triumph in any form of golf. He had only played once 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 place since 1996.

He came into the 18th hole knowing that he had a three-shot lead over fellow New South Welshman Peterson, who eventually finished second. "I didn't put the disc in the water," he said. "I said to Ian Frost," I hit my ball over the green. "I did, but I went up and down for par."

Bagust shot 74-71-71 to end up an even total, scoring well in windy conditions. He later left for a well-deserved festive drink with family and friends.

"It was always a bit tense," he said. "I have never been in that situation. I must say that the people I played with were very friendly, Lester Peterson and (Queenslander) Ian Frost. I had played with Ian for the past two days and we encouraged each other and Lester is a gentleman. That made it that little bit easier. "

Victoria & # 39; s Gordon Claney, the title defender, finished third.

"A few weeks ago I became a little old," says Bagust, who twice finished second in the Port Macquarie club championship. “I spent the week in the Whitsundays without a golf club in my area, and that was probably the best preparation I could have had. I work for myself and I can play virtually whenever I want, and I practice a bit, and I was exaggerating. "

Victoria & # 39; s team from Claney, Greg Rhodes, Colin George and Steve Valentine won the team event.

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