This image by Petri Oeschger summed up the dis­com­fort suf­fered by ev­ery­one – play­ers, me­dia, of­fi­cials and fans – dur­ing the ex­tremely wet week of the Joburg Open, penul­ti­mate event of the 2016-17 Sunshine Tour sea­son at Royal Jo­han­nes­burg & Kens­ing­ton.

Stone and Burmester were the stars of an ex­tra-long Sunshine Tour sea­son

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

Bran­don Stone was No 1 on the Sunshine Tour Or­der of Merit for 201617, the tenth dif­fer­ent win­ner of the Sid Brews Tro­phy in the last 11 years, but the tail end of the 14-month long sea­son was dom­i­nated by the dashing Dean Burmester.

Stone, with earn­ings of nearly R7.4 mil­lion, de­servedly took top hon­ours, hav­ing won two of the premier co-sanc­tioned tour­na­ments, the 2016 SA Open and Alfred Dunhill Cham­pi­onship. He was closely fol­lowed on the Or­der of Merit by 27-year-old Burmester, who broke through with his first co-sanc­tioned vic­tory at the Tsh­wane Open, and fin­ished with just un­der R6 mil­lion in earn­ings.

Burmester, who won four times in 2015 and cleaned up in last year’s Sunshine Tour Play­ers Awards, moved to No 95 on the World Rank­ing fol­low­ing his win at Pre­to­ria CC (hav­ing started the year at No 189), and has the op­por­tu­nity to climb fur­ther up the rank­ing now that he is ex­empt to ply his trade on the Euro­pean Tour for the next two years.

The Tsh­wane Open tri­umph was the cul­mi­na­tion of a busy eight weeks this year in which Burmester played seven tour­na­ments, here and in the Mid­dle East. A top-five fin­ish in the first event of the year, the SA Open at Glen­dower, got him into the Abu Dhabi Cham­pi­onship, and a top-10 there put him into the Qatar Masters.The Bloem­fontein golfer’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to gain a Euro­pean Tour card showed in the fi­nal round at Pre­to­ria CC where he made six birdies on the front nine for an out­ward 29, and went on to shoot a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive week­end 65. One shot be­hind the lead­ers go­ing into the fi­nal round, he won by three.

Dean Burmester.

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