Dean Burmester went seven-under-par on the first day of the Sunshine Big Easy Tour event at Glendower Golf Club on Tuesday to take the first-round lead in the R100,000 36-hole tournament.
On a course which carries water hazards on 11 of its 18 holes, Burmester carded 65 to take himself two shots clear of the competition. ÂItÂs tough out there, but I hit the ball well and made my putts,Â he said.
The Zimbabwean-born Bloemfontein professional took full advantage of immaculate greens right from the start, making birdie on his second and fourth holes at a course that hosted the SA Open in 2007.
ÂOnce you get on the front foot, any good professional doesnÂt look back,Â he said. He proved that point on his last three holes with a birdie-birdie-eagle close as he finished on the front nine.
Eager to catch him are Teboho Sefatsa and Albert Pistorius, each of whom shot rounds of 67. Ironic, as they were playing partners for day one.
Tied for second at five-under-par, they will chase the lead in the closing round on a course which has rewarded good tee shots.
Both Sefatsa and Pistorius have top 10 finishes on the Sunshine Tour and hundreds of appearances, yet have never won. This year alone Pistorius has made the top 10 three times.
Burmester has yet to prove his mettle, having played only 20 tournaments in his career.
The winner of the opening event of the series, Bryce Easton, carded a level-par 72 together with the winner of the second tournament, Tyrone Ryan.
The champion from the last event, Derick Petersen, had a forgettable day with his 13-over-par 85.
The tour is named after three-time major winner Ernie Els in recognition of his continued commitment to the development of the game in South Africa, and players who received their cards at the Sunshine Tour 2011 Qualifying School played in Bloemfontein last year, and the top 30 at the Vusi Ngubeni Strokeplay played in Johannesburg in January are eligible to play, as are those who finished from 71st to 150th on the 2010 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.