The former Bloemfontein professional, Dean Burmester, is relishing the opportunity to tee it up at the Open Championship for the first time in his career.
The 32-year-old, who now plays out of George, is one of 13 South Africans who will be playing in the 149th edition of the British Open, which is being hosted by the Royal St George Golf Club in Sandwich, England.
The two-time European Tour winner played his first round in Kent on Tuesday morning as he was preparing for what will be his third major.
Burmester told Bloemfontein Courant that hopefully his previous experience in majors stands him in good stead.
“I’m ecstatic to play well this year and being able to get into the Open. I’m about to go out for my practice round at Royal St George’s. It’s the 149th edition and the oldest open in the world.
“It’s exciting to be here and getting to see the real Claret Jug. Hopefully I will be able to get up close and personal with it, which should be real fun.
“I’ve played in two majors before this. I’ve got a bit of experience now and hopefully I will be able to use it to my advantage to try and feature come the end of the week.
“With everything going down in South Africa, hopefully one of us South Africans can come out on top and stop all of this nonsense and violence back home.”
The other South Africans who will be playing in the Open this week are Jaco Ahlers, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Ernie Els, Dylan Frittelli, Branden Grace, Justin Harding, Garrick Higgo, Shaun Norris, Louis Oosthuizen, JC Ritchie, Erik van Rooyen and Daniel van Tonder.
Els is a two-time winner of the Claret Jug and he will be playing in the Open for a 30th time. His win in 2012 at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club was the last time a South African managed to win the Open and a major.
The 149th Open tees off on Thursday morning. – MORGAN PIEK