Dean Burmester edged closer to the top 10 of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai rankings on Saturday as he continued his recent good form with a share of sixth place in the Betfred British Masters hosted by Danny Willett at the Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England.
In an emotion-drenched finale to the event, Burmester carded a two-under-par 70 to finish on 11-under for the tournament, two behind the sentimental favourite Richard Bland of England, who won his maiden European Tour title at the age of 48 in his 478th start.
Burmester was never able to really get it going in the final round after he started with a bogey on the very first hole. He made two more before the turn, and kept himself in the battle for the title with three birdies during that stretch too. He picked up two more shots on his way home, but, unusually for such a big hitter, he was unable to take advantage of the two par-fives on the homeward stretch to get into a position to have perhaps contested the play-off between Bland and Italy’s Guido Migliozzi.
Bland holed a tough 28-footer for birdie on the 18th in regulation to put himself in position to win, and Migliozzi helped out by not making birdie on the par-five 17 or on the 18th. And then, when Bland made par on the first play-off hole to Migliozzi’s bogey, the celebrations began for a popular winner.
“It’s probably going to take a few days to sink in,” said Bland. “It’s what I’ve worked for for 20 years. I’ve had a few close calls and I assume someone up there was looking down on me quite favourably today. A big incentive for me this year was to get to 500 events and this will allow me to do that, which I’ll be hugely proud of.
“I loved it down the stretch out there. I had a one-shot lead with six holes to play and hit the shots when I needed to and that’s a huge confidence boost going forwards.
“Who knows? Maybe it’s like buses. None come around for ages and then two come along in quick succession.”
Justin Harding closed with a one-over 73 to finish n seven-under in a share of 19th. Louis de Jager was also one-over in the final round as he ended up in a share of 30th on five-under.