Burmy wins 1st European Tour title

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loemfontein's Dean Burmester kept knocking and the door finally opened. The golfer scored 18 under par at the Pretoria Golf Club to win the Tshwane Open by three strokes for his first European Tour win. PHOTO: LUKE WALKER /SUNSHINE TOUR

The Bloemfontein golfer, Dean Burmester, finally has the monkey off his back after winning the 2017 Tshwane Open on the European Tour.

This three-stroke victory on Sunday at the Pretoria Golf Club was the player’s first ever win on the tour and with the event being co-sanctioned, it was also his seventh Sunshine Tour win.

Burmester carded a final round of 7 under par 65 on Sunday for a tournament tally of 18 under par to win by three strokes.

Spain’s Jorge Campillo and Finland’s Mikko Korhonen finished on 15 under par for a share of 2nd.

The win for the 27-year-old Grey College old boy means that he is exempt from the European Tour for at least the rest of the season, meaning that he needs no more invites to compete in tournaments. This is a major coup for the player considering that he has been battling to earn a much valued tour card over the past few years.

Burmester started the final round much the same way as he did the third round, like a house on fire, and the three back-to-back birdies helped calm the nerves as his round just snowballed.

“I didn’t think I’d wrapped it up with those three birdies in the first three holes, but it turned out to be that way. Those three birdies calmed my nerves,” said Burmester.

The birdie on the first hole was probably the one which flipped the switch that turned the Burmester machine on. He hadn’t made birdie on the first all week, had bogeyed it twice and suggested after the third round it was the most difficult hole on the course.
He rolled in a 45-footer for birdie and the game was over for everyone else.

“I sank probably the best putt I hit all week on one. I was actually quite nervous when I was standing over it. When I saw the line, it was on and I knew it was in when it was two metres from the hole.

“And then it just kind of snowballed. I birdied two, and before I knew it, I’d birdied three in a row. It was a lovely start.”

The win has ensured Burmester of his spot in the Rolex Series on the tour and this includes the European Tour’s flagship evening, the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in England, the French, Irish, Scottish, Italian and Turkish Opens, as well as the one event every South African golfer wants to play, “Africa’s Major”, the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City.

It will be the first time that the Zimbabwean-born player qualifies for the “Million Dollar”, however hasn’t booked his spot in the 2017 Open Championship yet. However, with four Top 10 finishes in five events on the European Tour he will surely be receiving an invite to play at Royal Birkdale from 20 to 23 July.

The win in Pretoria was also very lucrative one for the young father after collecting a winner’s cheque of over R2.6 million. This moved him to second on the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit with over R5.9 million in winnings, which is only bettered by the Rustenburg-born Brandon Stone with a whopping R7.3 million.

Furthermore, Burmester has moved up to 26th on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai leader board on 174 060 points. His next confirmed event will be the Trophee Hassan II at the Royal Golf Dar es Salaam, in Rabat, Morocco. – MORGAN PIEK