Tahlequah Daily Press


April 27, 2013

Sequoyah's Rylan Bunch 'a gym rat' on the golf course

Any efforts to keep a well-maintained lawn have been futile at the Bunch household. All the finely-manicured blades of grass typically end up in small clumps all over the yard.

It’s all for a good cause, though: Rylan Bunch’s golf game.

The Sequoyah senior — when a golf course is unavailable — admits to countless hours of practice in his yard, resulting in divots as far as the eye can see.

“There’s a lot of tore-up grass in the yard where I’ve been hitting,” Bunch said.

While waiting to test out his driver and long irons on the golf course, Bunch typically uses his own territory to work on his short game.

“I have a pretty big yard there at home, so I just hit balls until it gets dark,” he said. “I work mostly with my wedges and try to hit approach shots, anywhere from 100 yards in. I just work on hitting targets.”

Bunch’s yard does get a reprieve most days. That’s because he’s typically somewhere on the golf course, Sequoyah coach Shane Richardson said.

“Some kids are gym rats, and he’s the equivalent of a gym rat on a golf course,” said Richardson, who has been Bunch’s coach for all four seasons of Bunch’s high school career. “He’s out here before everybody and he leaves last. The only time he leaves is when the sun goes down. There’s never a time when he’s somewhere not playing golf during golf season.

“He works very hard at his craft, and he has high expectations of himself, which I like, because it makes him work that much harder.”

Bunch’s dedication to golf is rare at a school that features a myriad of multi-sport athletes. Not Bunch. He prefers to stick to golf — and golf only.

“I always played multiple sports growing up,” Bunch said, “and coming here, it’s what I thought would be a better idea going forward into college.”

That begs the question: Does Bunch miss not playing football or basketball?

“I sometimes miss basketball, not so much football,” he said. “Basketball I do miss.”

Beginning golf at a young age, Bunch waited until he was 14 to begin his tour of tournaments. As far as he can remember, he fared pretty well in that one.

“I did pretty good for my first tournament,” Bunch said. “I was a little nervous, but it all went good.”

It wasn’t long after that when Bunch realized golf may be his calling.

“It was about my freshman year,” he said. “I realized I was getting a lot better, and I felt like I could do something with it.”

That’s exactly what he’s done this season. During his senior campaign, Bunch has racked up medalist honors at four tournaments to go along with two second-place finishes.

“Came out the gate with three early wins,” said Bunch, who won at the Wagoner tournament (March 1), the Keys SWAG tournament (March 14) and the Keys boys’ tournament (March 26) before claiming first place at the Class 3A regional qualifying tournament on Monday.

“I kind of hit a dry spot there in the middle, but it’s starting to come back around toward the end.”

One of his second-place showings was in Claremore at Scissortail Golf Course, the site of Monday’s 3A regional tournament.

“We played there this year, and I finished second in that tournament,” Bunch said. “We’ve played there the last three years for regionals, and I’ve done pretty good there for the last three regionals.”

As Bunch ventures into golf’s version of the postseason, he’ll have a coach that will not try to alter his game at all. Richardson said he helps Bunch with the intangibles more than his actual swing.

“I don’t coach his swing,” Richardson said. “My philosophy is: He can beat me 10 times out of 10, so I’m not going to coach his swing. What I try to do is keep him in a good frame of mind and talk to him about what he’s thinking. I talk to him about what his thought process is, and I help him on that part of it more than the angle of his back swing or the shaft angle or impact area; I don’t mess with that.”

When it comes to Bunch’s game, Richardson is in awe of his ball control.

“His ability to work the ball impresses me the most,” Richardson said. “On the tee or in the fairway, he’s able to work the ball from right to left or left to right. You don’t see that much in high school golf. Typically, if a kid fades the ball, he fades the ball all day. Rylan, when he’s playing at his best, can work the ball.”

Bunch will only have two more opportunities to show off that ability during his high school career. Following regionals, Bunch will take aim at a 3A state championship — if he qualifies — at Duncan Golf and Tennis Club. Bunch said his performance at last season’s state tournament — a three-day total of 243 (30 strokes off the winning pace) at Dornick Hills in Ardmore — is one he’d like to rectify before he moves on to college.

“I went out there expecting to do really good,” Bunch said of last year’s state tournament. “My game felt good going in, but it just disappeared after the first round. It made we want to practice more this year, and be more prepared for that.”

Text Only
  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fishing-team.jpg NSU teams compete in fishing tournament

    Three teams from Northeastern State University’s Bass Fishing Team competed in the Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove on Saturday, June 21.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yurcich ready for second season

    With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.

    July 28, 2014

  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue