14th February 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Relaxed atmosphere favours Burmester at Fancourt
Dean Burmester came second in the 2016 Dimension Data Pro-Am, and he finds himself one of the favourites ahead of this year’s tournament which tees off on all three courses at Fancourt on Thursday.
The Bloemfontein-based professional who now plays most of his golf on the European Tour, has had a quiet time of it on home soil in the five events he has played in the 2017-18 Sunshine Tour season so far, with a best finish of a share of 19th in December’s Joburg Open.
With the players all paired with amateur partners for the week, and play taking place for the opening three rounds on Montagu, Outeniqua and The Links at Fancourt ahead of the final round on Montagu, the pressure will be a little less than in conventional tournaments. That will allow the gregarious Burmester to focus less on the difficulties confronting him on the golf course and more on the pleasure of simply playing.
“I do like the format,” said Burmester. “It was one of the first tournaments I played starting out on the Sunshine Tour, and I finished will in it and my career kind of kicked on from there. I have made some great friendships, and it’s an event I look forward to every year.”
When he gets into the kind of free-wheeling mode the tournament permits, Burmester can be unstoppable. When he unfurls his attractive and powerful long game off the tee – and it’s working well – the rest of his play seems to fall into place. Should that happen, he is capable of going very low.
He was beaten by a single stroke by George Coetzee to the title in 2016, and he has fond memories of that performance. “I started on The Links, and made 67 there,” he said. “That is my best round there.
“They have changed things up a little there, and made things a little easier this year – mainly to help with pace of play, because we were having some seven-hour rounds around there. I’ve just practiced on it, and I like what they’ve done. It makes it better for my kind of game, so I’m quite excited to play there. I felt there were a lot of birdies out there.”
For all that love shown for The Links, Montagu is his favourite course at Fancourt. “I really like Montagu,” he said, “and it’s great that we get to play the final round on it. It’s a good test, and it gives the players a chance at making a charge if they’re within striking distance.”
With defending champion Paul Lawrie not playing this year, Burmester will still have to contend with Coetzee again.
There are four other former champions in the field: Oliver Bekker, Hennie Otto, James Kamte and Alan McLean.