Dean wants R4m prize

Af­ter sweep­ing the Sun­shine Tour’s awards, Burmester is feel­ing con­fi­dent about win­ning the In­vestec Cup

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

Fresh from sweep­ing most of the Sun­shine Tour Play­ers’ Awards this week, pro Zim­bab­wean golfer Dean Burmester says his main goal now is win­ning the In­vestec Cup. The tour­na­ment takes place at the Mil­l­vale Pri­vate Re­treat Golf Club in Koster, North West, from March 9 to 12.

At a glit­ter­ing cer­e­mony at Sum­mer Place in Hyde Park, Joburg, this week, the Bloem­fontein-based golfer walked away with four of the seven hon­ours up for grabs: The Gary Player Tro­phy for the best stroke av­er­age of last sea­son; the Golf Writ­ers’ Player of the Year, de­cided by the me­dia; the Play­ers’ Player of the Year, an ac­co­lade from fel­low pro­fes­sion­als; and the Com­mis­sioner’s Award, which is given by Sel­wyn Nathan, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the tour, to a con­tes­tant who has served pro­fes­sional golf in South Africa par­tic­u­larly well.

The 27-year-old player is cur­rently lead­ing all play­ers on the cir­cuit on points in the cup, with an im­pres­sive 2 600 col­lected from the 17 events he has so far played in.

Win­ning the cup would crown his im­pres­sive streak. The top 30 pro­fes­sional golfers want­ing to com­pete in the show­down have to qual­ify by earn­ing points from the tour’s con­tests. The over­all vic­tor in the 36-hole In­vestec Cup pock­ets R4 mil­lion.

Burmester be­lieves that his pock­et­ing of the awards will in­spire him to do well at the Mil­l­vale show­down.

“I’m en­joy­ing the best golf of my ca­reer at the mo­ment. This has been proven by the awards I have col­lected as a re­sult of my hard work on the golf course last sea­son,” said the elated Zim­babwe-born player, who has moved into the top 100 on the of­fi­cial world golf rank­ings.

“Com­pe­ti­tion will be ex­tremely tough at Mil­l­vale be­cause the greens and fair­ways there are mostly nar­row,” he said. “My con­sis­tency and ac­cu­rate tee shots will make it easy for me to do well.”

Burmester said that, af­ter the In­vestec Cup, he would par­tic­i­pate in the Bar­clays Kenya Open in Nairobi from March 17 to 20.

“The con­test is played un­der the ban­ner of the Chal­lenge Tour, which is the se­cond tier to the Euro­pean Tour. Win­ning it will set me up for greater things in my ca­reer.”

Burmester, who turned pro in 2010, has won six events on the lo­cal tour and fea­tured on all the pre­vi­ous co-sanc­tioned events on the Euro­pean Tour stage as well ( see box).

He cred­its his father, Mark, who is also his cad­die, as his source of in­spi­ra­tion. “Ever since he car­ried my bag in 2014, I have been on top of my game. I be­lieve my dad un­der­stands the way I play very well and this makes my game easy,” said Burmester.

He says fel­low Zim­bab­wean and for­mer three-time ma­jor win­ner Nick Price is his role model.

Of all his tro­phies, he said win­ning the Golden Pilsener Zim­bab- we Open in 2014 had been his tough­est tri­umph.

“I had to birdie the last hole to win the event. That was dif­fi­cult, but I man­aged to win by a stroke.”

The most dif­fi­cult event he has played in lo­cally was the Tsh­wane Open on the Euro­pean Tour at the Pre­to­ria Coun­try Club two weeks ago. He fin­ished tied for fourth with an un­der-par five.

Charl Schwartzel won with a score of -16.

PHOTO: GALLO IM­AGES

BIG SHOT Dean Burmester has been voted the best golfer on the Sun­shine Tour. He now wants to win the In­vestec Cup

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