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Tshwane Open: Day 4

BIRDIE BLITZ GIVES ZIM’S BURMESTR TSHWANE OPEN TITLE

In his three opening holes on Sunday, Dean Burmester made sure no-one else was going to win the Tshwane Open. And he carded a six-under-par 65 at Pretoria Country Club as he marched to a commanding three-stroke victory in the tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour. SOURCE : SUNSHINE TOUR

He made three consecutive birdies to start his final round, and three more from the sixth to the ninth to turn in 29 and take the wind out of his pursuers’ sails. Finland’s Mikko Korhonen and Spaniard Jorge Campillo shared second, with American Peter Uihlein in fourth.

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

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, and had bogeyed it twice, and he suggested after the third round it was the most difficult hole on the bourse.

But when he rolled in a 45-footer for birdie, the game was over for everyone else. “I sank probably the best putt I hit all week on one,” he said, “and I was actually quite nervous when I was standing over it. When I saw the line it was on and the speed, 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.”

After the turn, he kept pushing, despite having a lead that was looking increasingly impregnable, and he made his seventh birdie on the 11th. But then came a bogey. “I’ve been in similar positions in the past,” said Burmester of his tactic to continue pressing, “and I’ve backed off a little bit. I could have made it a lot closer than I should have. The great players in the world tend to win by 10.”

He made birdie on 12 to rectify the little slip, one more on 14, before bogeys on 16 and 17 saw his winning margin trimmed. “My only goal was to hit good shots,” he said. “The more I hit, the more birdie putts I’d have, and the less stress I’d have. I probably shouldn’t have gone at the flag on 11, but other than that, I think I played a pretty good round.”

It was his seventh victory on the Sunshine Tour, but his first on the European Tour. “There are no words to describe the feelings I have,” said Burmester. “I’m obviously elated and I’m looking forward to a full season on the European Tour.”

The victory capped a run of three top-10s and a share of 11th in four of his five tournaments this year and top-five finishes in the Tshwane Open the previous two years. He’s been knocking on the door of the international stage for some time now, and the victory vindicates so much of the work he has done.

“I had planned to play in Morocco, where I was in on an invitation,” he said, “and then two events in China, which I wasn’t in yet. Now my next year on the European Tour is taken care of, and I get in to all their big events. I’m excited to go and play in their premier events.”

As if to underline this big step, the Official World Golf Ranking on Monday will have him inside the top 100 in the world. He belongs there.

 

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