Dean Burmester set the pace at 16 under par after three rounds at the Eye of Africa PGA Championship, but a handful of future stars were hot on his heels.
‘I’m really happy with the way I played, and I really like the golf course. I just see a lot of things here, and I really like the greens. It was nice to make a couple of putts, and I hope there’s more of the same on Sunday,’ he said.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout, the 2016 Sunshine Tour rookie of the year, was three shots back and tied for second with Ross McGowan, while Erik van Rooyen, Dylan Frittelli and Makgetha Mazibuko shared fourth place with America’s Justin Hicks.
‘It wasn’t easy with the wind blowing,’ Bezuidenhout explained. ‘All the tough holes were playing into the wind. I just kept my head down. I made a few putts, made a couple of great saves on 15 and 16. But overall, I played solid golf and gave myself loads of chances.’
Burmester played sublime golf over the first three days to shoot rounds of 66, 67 and another 67 on Saturday for a three-stroke cushion in the final round. He recorded top10s at the SA Open and Qatar Masters and is continuing that vein of good form this week.
McGowan is a European Tour winner looking to make his comeback, having lost a playoff to Jaco Ahlers at the Cape Town Open three years ago. The Englishman has the ability to win, but his mental fortitude will be put to the test on Sunday.
Bezuidenhout’s mind will also be tested in the final round as he looks to secure a first 72-hole tournament victory. He broke into the winners’ circle at the Fish River Sun Challenge last year, but that was a three-day tournament.
The talented youngster will be pushing to win his local PGA Championship, following in the footsteps of Louis Oosthuizen and Jaco van Zyl.
‘I’ll just try to put early pressure on (Dean) with a couple of early birdies,’ said Bezuidenhout. But you never know on this course. The holes coming down the stretch are tough. You have to hit the fairways, so anything can happen right up until the end, so I’ll just hang in there.’