Whilst the golfing world naturally focuses its attention on the World Championship event in Mexico City, many players who one day aspire to join them were battling for victory on the European Tour event in South Africa this week.
And it is home-grown Dean Burmester who is celebrating victory in the Tshwane Open in Pretoria, a final-round 65 giving him a three-shot success and his first victory on the European Tour.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I’ve had an amazing summer and last week was a frustrating day for me on Sunday and it didn’t go my way but then my family and everyone who supported me said ‘we’re coming up next week so you better win in front of us’ and I’m glad to have done that. I sharpened my teeth as a youngster on the Big Easy Tour here at home and I think I had five seconds in one year and then two years later I had four wins on the Sunshine Tour. It’s gone strength to strength and now I’m a European Tour winner and that sounds great.”
Burmester began with three straight birdies and added six more by the 14th hole as he moved into a six-shot lead before faltering a little down the stretch with bogeys at the 16th and 17th holes. But a solid par-five down the 18th saw wild celebrations ensue as his fellow South African players showered him with champagne to the delight of the home crowd.
“I just knew that if I could get unscathed through 13, 15 and 16 I should pretty much be home and dry,” he said. “I made a great par on 13 next to the tree and then birdied 14 and kind of calmed down. Bogeys at 16 and 17 weren’t great but I was just trying to keep myself calm.”
Burmester has had an excellent recent run of form that began with a top ten finish at the BMW SA Open that earned him a spot in the field for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship where he went on to claim seventh spot. A tie for 11th at last week’s Joburg Open left the 27 year old feeling confident a first European Tour win – to add to his six Sunshine Tour triumphs – was not far away and he duly delivered at Pretoria Country Club. The victory could take him into the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking and means that South Africans have won this event in four of its five stagings.
Spain’s Jorge Campillo and Mikko Korhonen of Finland tied for second at -15 with American Peter Uihlein a further shot back. Another South African, Jacques Blaauw, equalled Burmester’s low round of the day to climb into a tie for 6th. England’s Oliver Fisher who stunned the field with a 62 in the third round, found the final round much harder going and he fell away to a tie for 18th with a final-round 74.