Despite winning four titles on the Sunshine Tour last year, big-hitting Dean Burmester is somehow flying below the radar ahead of the BMW South African Open Championship proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni which gets underway on Thursday at Glendower Golf Club.
And he intends going about it by making liberal use of his driver which might seem a little counterintuitive on the tight Glendower layout, but he thinks it makes sense.
“Last year, the rough was brutal,” he said, “so I used irons off just about every tee. But this year, with the dry weather making sure the rough is not so tough, I’m going to use driver as much as possible. And every time I hit a fairway, it’s going to mean I’m going to have a wedge into the green.”
Burmester’s performance in the last South African Open suffered because of the rough – he finished 66th after rounds of 74-72-79-77 – and gave no indication of what was to come for him in the year ahead on the 2015 Sunshine Tour.
Top-20 finishes in the Dimension Data Pro-Am, the Joburg Open and the Africa Open kick-started his year, and his third in the Tshwane Open gave him his biggest cheque of the year as well as a boost to his confidence.
That led to victory in the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open in the land of his birth and on the course on which he grew up – and the floodgates opened.
He went on to win three more times – the Lombard Insurance Classic in Swaziland, the Sun Windmill Challenge in his new home-town of Bloemfontein, and the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Koro Creek.
And, although he wasn’t successful in his quest for a European Tour card, he grew into a hardened competitor who was able to produce some magical spells of golf under difficult circumstances. And he’s ready to win a big one.
“We all want to win the SA Open,” said Burmester, who has had his father Mark, a former Zimbabwe international cricketer, on the bag for the last few tournaments. “I had a great year last year, and I could think of nothing better than starting this year with a win here.”