Dean Burmester has cemented his position on the Sunshine Tour with two victories and 13 top-20 results in the last two years. On Tuesday at the Nedbank Affinity Cup his status as a regular contender was reiterated when he shot 65 to lead the first round.
“You learn from the senior guys about how to control your temperament. It used to be a big problem for me, because I’d get irritated with myself, but that’s gone away over the last 18 months. To make nothing for a few holes doesn’t make me anxious or frustrated anymore,” he said.
The 25-year-old played with Warren Abery and Michiel Bothma, who have 11 Sunshine Tour wins between them.
Burmester started on the 10th and felt right at home amongst the seasoned campaigners. He included two birdies in his final three holes to seal up an opening score of seven-under-par.
“It’s nice to see what the senior players do and have it rub off on you. It helps a lot to no longer be throwing away shots coming in. I knew I needed a big finish today and I was trying to hit it close throughout the front nine. To make that birdie on seven gave me great confidence and then to make that birdie putt on eight was a bonus,” he said.
The Bloemfontein local is now in his fourth year on tour and has settled in nicely. He’s one of the most accomplished graduates of the Big Easy Tour, which aims to give up-and-coming youngsters a chance to experience tournament conditions.
“The Big Easy Tour was a massive step for me. It taught me how to compete when you’re at the top and it definitely helped me believe that I could make it on the professional scene,” he said.
Those days battling on the development tour were a distant memory on Tuesday as Burmester flew around the 6752-metre track in 65 strokes.
“I played nicely today and made a few putts, which always helps. I hit the ball so great and now it’s a matter of solidifying what I did today. Hopefully I come out and do something similar tomorrow,” he said.