11th May 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Burmester powers into Investec Royal Swazi lead
Dean Burmester took advice from his sponsor and made a brilliant eagle on the fifth hole at the Royal Swazi Spa Country Club on Friday on his way to a superb eight-under-par 64 and the third-round lead of the Investec Royal Swazi Open.
The tournament is played on a Modified Stableford scoring system, which allocated five points for an eagle, two for a birdie, none for a par, minus one for a bogey and minus three for a double or worse. Burmester made two eagles, seven birdies, a bogey and a double for 20 points and a three-point lead over defending champion Peter Karmis heading into the final round.
“On five, Sam Hackner of Investec on day one asked me what I was doing when I pulled out a two-iron,” said Burmester. “My normal plan is to hit a two-iron and a six-iron on the green for a safe birdie. He told me to hammer the driver over the trees. I thought about it and decided to do it. And since then, I’ve gone birdie-birdie-eagle!
“I hit my drive straight in the middle of the fairway and nearly took out Riekus Nortje playing in front of me. Then I had sand wedge to about four feet and I made the eagle. That got the ball rolling after the silly mistake I made on three.”
Burmester started his round on the 10th, and made his intentions clear from the start as he eased a high cut with a three-wood onto the green on the par-four hole. “I hit the green on my first hole, the 10th, lipped out for eagle, but made birdie and that kind of set the tone for the whole day,” he said.
Karmis, who once shot a 59 around the course, was flawless in his own eight-under 64, which was worth 17 points and puts him nicely within range of the flying Burmester. He made six birdies and an eagle – the eagle ironically coming on the 17th, where he lipped out for eagle on his way to that 59 in 2009.
For Burmester, the aggressive approach was what gave him the edge in the third round. “I came home with two nice eagles which you need in this kind of format, especially on moving day,” he said.
His second eagle came on the seventh – his 16th. “My approach into seven, as I hit it, I knew it was good for distance and it just had to hold its line there. Pitching wedge to six feet there to make another eagle,” he recalled.
He followed that with a bogey on the eighth, but put an explanation point on his round with a birdie on nine to set himself up with momentum going into the final round. “The putt for birdie on the last hole was big for me,” he said. “I told myself on the green to give myself a good chance. I’ve been leaving a lot of putts short, especially the uphill ones. After I made bogey on eight, I knew that one more birdie would set the tone for the rest of the week.”