In his first appearance in the Open Championship, Dean Burmester played himself into a good position on Friday with his second-round of three-under-par 67 setting him up nicely ahead of the weekend at Royal St George’s in Sandwich, Kent.
Two late bogeys were something of a disappointment for the two-time European Tour champion and the man who has won seven times on the Sunshine Tour. But he was in a share of 25th going into the weekend, and feeling as if he had some momentum.
“I played really nicely,” he said. “I scored really well. In the first round, I probably hit the ball very similar, just didn’t make any putts. Early in the second round I managed to make one, and then golf is a funny game, managed to hole a few putts. I’m slightly disappointed in my finish – two-over in my last four wasn’t great, but all in all I played really nicely and I’m happy to shoot an under-par round.”
With not much experience in links golf, Burmester has found the challenge posed by Royal St George’s stimulating, rather than terrifying. “The golf course seems to suit my eye really well,” he said. I qualified, or tried to qualify, a few years ago at Royal Cinque Ports, and really loved that one, and that’s just down the road. Something about this coastline I think I really like. Not a lot of drivers for me, which is quite nice. A lot of long irons. It plays right into my hands. I’m really happy.”
He’s also happy that seven of the 13 South Africans in the original field made the cut. “South African golf is in a really strong position,” he said. “Guys have been playing well for pretty much the whole year, quite a lot of wins on the European Tour and guys riding their way through the Challenge Tour back home are playing really well. I think South African golf in general is just on a hot streak, and long may it last really.
“We have little bets between each other, little things where you all want to compete and beat each other and be the top South African at the end of the week. That’s obviously a goal for everyone, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the weekend holds.”
For Burmester, just keeping on doing what has worked so far is high on the list of what he hopes the weekend brings. “More of the same, I think!” he said.