Burmester tar­gets PGA Cham­pi­onship

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

An ab­sence of South African win­ners in the BMW PGA Cham­pi­onship has aroused Dean Burmester’s in­ter­est in tak­ing part.

The PGA Cham­pi­onship, one of the key events and one of the old­est tour­na­ments on the Euro­pean Tour – founded in 1955 – tees off at Went­worth Club in Vir­ginia Wa­ter in Sur­rey, Eng­land, on May 25. It is spon­sored for $7 mil­lion (R90 mil­lion) and was pre­vi­ously called the Bri­tish PGA Cham­pi­onship.

The 27-year-old Zim­bab­wean-born South African cap­tured the Tsh­wane Open ti­tle, and his maiden win, on the Euro­pean tour at Pre­to­ria Coun­try Club last Sun­day. He carded an un­der-par 18 for a to­tal of 266 and beat Spain’s Jorge Campillo and Finn Mikko Korho­nen by three strokes. He must have smiled all the way to the bank with a cheque for R2.3 mil­lion in his back pocket.

He told City Press this week that he was look­ing for­ward to mak­ing his pres­ence felt on the big stage by clinch­ing the BMW PGA Cham­pi­onship.

Burmester said that he was mo­ti­vated to com­pete be­cause of the lack of win­ners from South Africa in the con­test since its in­cep­tion 62 years ago.

“No South African has won the cham­pi­onship since it started. It will be nice for me to lay my hands on its tro­phy. I’d like to take my cur­rent form, which made me win the Tsh­wane Open, to Went­worth and do it for South Africa.”

The son of for­mer Zim­bab­wean crick­eter Mark Burmester, Dean said his en­thu­si­asm to com­pete in the event was also prompted by the fact that the renowned English rock band Sta­tus Quo would add spark to the event by per­form­ing on the night of the third day as the tour­na­ment’s head­liner.

“I love that band with a pas­sion. I will be mo­ti­vated by some of their songs to win the cham­pi­onship.”

Burmester made three con­sec­u­tive birdies to start his fi­nal round and took the stuff­ing out of his pur­suers to cap­ture the big one.

And he is look­ing for­ward to prov­ing his met­tle on the big cir­cuit by adding the cham­pi­onship scalp to his other big wins in a space of two months. Burmester boasts seven Sunshine Tour wins, in­clud­ing his Tsh­wane tri­umph, which was a co-sanc­tioned event (see box).

“The PGA Cham­pi­onship is one of the most spe­cial events on the Euro­pean Tour calendar – it’s played at Went­worth, which is one of the spe­cial golf venues in Eng­land,” said Burmester.

“I will be com­pet­ing in the event

Burmester’s wins

Polok­wane Clas­sic (204) June 15 2013 Sun City Chal­lenge (206) July 4 2014 Golden Pilsener Zim­babwe Open (272) April 12 2015 Lom­bard In­sur­ance Clas­sic (193) May 24 2015 Sun Wind­mill Chal­lenge (198) Septem­ber 18 2015 Vo­da­com Ori­gins of Golf (197) October 24 2015 *Tsh­wane Open (266) March 5 2017 *De­notes Sunshine / Euro­pean co-sanc­tion and I am con­fi­dent to win as I’m ex­tremely fired up.”

Burmester, who has had six top10 fin­ishes on the Euro­pean Tour, said he hoped to be lost to the lo­cal Sunshine Tour from next year as he would be com­pet­ing in Europe.

“The Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge, which will be played in Novem­ber at Sun City, will prob­a­bly be my last one lo­cally be­fore I fo­cus on play­ing abroad,” said Burmester.

PHOTO: LUKE WALKER / SUNSHINE TOUR / GALLO IMAGES

DE­TER­MINED Dean Burmester scoops the ball from a bunker dur­ing the fi­nal round of the Tsh­wane Open last week­end

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