Dean Burmester made it two South Africans inside the top three at the Scandinavian Invitation and is ready to surge with a lot of golf still left in 2019, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
In the frenzy that followed Erik van Rooyen’s birdie putt on the final hole to win on Sunday, some might not have taken full stock of the finishing position of his countryman Dean Burmester.
With Matt Fitzpatrick edged into second, Ryder Cup and European Tour legend Henrik Stenson shared third with the 30-year-old former winner of the co-sanctioned Tshwane Open.
It was a week of justification for Burmester, who fired a final-round 66 to back up his round-of-the-day 62 on Saturday. The T3 is his best result for some time as off-course work and on-course improvement collaborated in Gothenburg.
‘It was a good week. I’m glad it came together because I’ve been trending in the right direction for a few weeks now,’ said Burmester talking to Compleat Golfer while making his way to the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
‘I haven’t really been able to free myself quite like I wanted to and to get the job done. Last week, I was chuffed with the way I played well and was really happy with how I was striking the ball. The only problem now is finishing things off to be honest.
‘I had six three putts last week, so if I can get that out of the system then I’ll be closer. I need to work on my lag putting and my pace from distance then we should be up.
‘I’ve gone from hitting 60% of greens in regulation to somewhere near the 80% mark for the last four weeks or so. It’s a massive improvement. That’s always going to help take pressure of the rest of the game.’
While the visually appealing Hills Golf and Sports Club may have grabbed the attention, the big-hitting Burmester gave more than a clue as to why in particular this week saw Van Rooyen’s and his own name feature so prominently.
‘We were having dinner last night and we were talking about the course. It’s so similar to Eye of Africa with the elevated tees and the visuals you get from the tee box to the landing areas; it all looks a lot closer. It was a good ball-striking week. Erik’s won at Eye of Africa and I’ve finished something like twice there in the past. So, it’s amazing how the course set up for us and it was almost a horses-for-courses type result.’
Like Van Rooyen, the seven-time Sunshine Tour winner will head to Crans-Montana with a large South African contingent expected to line up.
‘I’m happy with how it went here this week and I’m excited to get to another course this week that I really like. And being up at altitude also assists us South Africans. Hopefully, between all of us we can get the job done.’
Burmester plays this week and the next when the tour heads to Hamburg for the Porsche European Open before taking a week off to focus on a trip to Wentworth for the BMW Championship and the Dunhill Links.
‘It’s the right time to be heading on the up and I’m comfortable where my game is moving at the moment. There’s a lot of golf left in the year and I’m glad that my work is now starting to show on the course.’
The boost of confidence may just be the tonic required as Burmester looks to take advantage of the momentum the South Africans are creating on the elite tour.
Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images