ZIM’S Dean Burmester is Southern Africa’s leading player, with the majority of the 12-strong Saffa contingent safely in the clubhouse at the Irish Open, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
Burmester’s round of 70 was the best of the bunch, from a local point of view, on Thursday at Portstewart, ahead of a trio of countrymen at 71 – Dylan Frittelli, Thomas Aiken and Haydn Porteous.
In his third Rolex Series appearance, Burmester’s card was relatively straightforward with three birdies and a bogey on the 18th, dropping him into a share of 38th place. The Tshwane Open winner will be hoping for more of the same on Friday, despite being five off the pace set by English duo Matthew Southgate and Oliver Fisher.
Burmester’s best finish since his early season win on home soil was a T9 at the BMW Championship at Wentworth, when he rollicked into contention with a stunning Sunday performance. He has plenty of birdies in him, and as he continues to keep big numbers off his card, the 28-year-old appears to be going from strength to strength.
Frittelli was one of those at -1, but his card was completely different to that of Burmester as he dropped shots on 3, 4 and 5, but crucially got one back on the ninth. The Lyoness winner then made his move with a back nine 33, including back to back birdies at the par 5s on 13 and 14 to get back into position on Thursday.
Jaco Van Zyl, Darren Fichardt, Hennie Otto and George Coetzee are yet to complete their first rounds.
SA leaderboard at 4:30 (SA time):