Two second places on the Sunshine Tour in 2016 is not bad for some, but Dean Burmester will be looking for more than that in this week’s Sun City Challenge which tees off on Thursday at the Gary Player Country Club.
It was a tournament that Burmester won back in 2014, his second in his Sunshine Tour career which has six victories in it, but this time, it won’t be at the Lost City Golf Club. The tough Gary Player Country Cub will demand the best of him, and of all the other players.
Burmester won four times on the Sunshine Tour last year, and his second places came in the Dimension Data Pro-Am behind George Coetzee, and in the Eye of Africa PGA Championship behind Jaco van Zyl.
His four wins last year gave him an insurmountable lead in the Chase to the Investec Cup, and he finished third in that tournament back in March.
Subsequent to that, he had some starts on The European Tour and the Challenge Tour, with his best on The European Tour a share of 14th in the Trophee Hasan II in Morocco, and on the Challenge Tour, he managed a share of 25th in the Fred Olsen Challenge de Espana. But it was a tough time for Burmester in Europe, and he is sure to be looking forward to being back on home soil – especially in winter when his length off the tee is made even more imposing with the hard fairways and the high altitude.
He will have to deal with some savvy competitors, however. Amongst them is Trevor Fisher Jnr, who has achieved four top-20 finishes on The European Tour, and seems to be heading towards keeping his card for the 2017 season.
Fisher has more experience than Burmester on the Gary Player Country Club track, and that could make him particularly difficult to fight off if he gets into contention.
Count also as more experienced the likes of Keith Horne, Jaco Ahlers, Ulrich van den Berg and Jbe’ Kruger. They have all recently returned from foreign campaigns. Horne is the defending champion in the tournament.
But Burmester will have a lot to prove as he attempts to get his 2016 season into the kind of groove he had in 2015.