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
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.