He rode a roller-coaster to his opening 70, but it was a smooth ride for Dean Burmester on Thursday as he carded a bogey-free 65 in the second round of the finale of the Chase to the Investec Cup being played at Millvale Private Retreat.
That seven-under-par tour-de-force opened a one-stroke lead for him over BMW South African Open champion Brandon Stone, who signed for a 67, and he was a further shot clear of Haydn Porteous and Jacques Blaauw, who fired 68 and 69 respectively.
“It felt like I was holding a broomstick on the range yesterday morning and the first six holes I didn’t know what was going on,” laughed Burmester. “I found something and it clicked and I managed to make a couple of putts today, so I’m really chuffed with a bogey-free 65.”
There were only two other blemish free cards in the elite field of 16 who have made it into the final event to play for their share of the R10-million Investec Cup Bonus Pool. One belonged to Porteous and the other to Richard Sterne, who carded a five-under-par 67.
But, as good as those rounds were in the context off the tournament, the Burmester burnish was tough to match. With four wins last year, and two consecutive runner-up spots over the last two Sunshine Tour tournaments, his confidence is running high.
“The coach and I had a nice week back in Bloemfontein last week working on a few technical things,” he said. “And those kicked in yesterday when my rhythm wasn’t great. And today I managed to find some rhythm and some good timing. I hit it pin high a lot and managed to make a few of the putts.
“The two second places that I did have, I learnt a lot from, probably more than the wins. I’ve played here a few times and obviously it does work in my favour and I’m really excited for what tomorrow has in store.”
Stone had a superb front nine for the second day in a row, making four birdies on his way to the turn in 32. Two bogeys on the back nine spoiled things somewhat, but he was happy. “The front nine has obviously been treating me quite well,” he said. “I made a lot of birdies on that front nine again which is quite nice and then slowed down on the back nine like I did yesterday. But I managed to hit it to a foot on 17 and a foot-and-a-half on 18. Two tap-in birdies to finish leaves you with a smile on your face.”
A shootout over the next two rounds between Burmester and Stone, with Joburg Open winner Porteous and Blaauw snapping at their heels is an enticing prospect.