Brilliant front 9 gives Burmester the PGA Championship title

Dean Burmester sealed his two-stroke victory in the Sunshine Tour’s PGA Championship on Sunday with a superlative front nine of seven-under-par 29. That took him clear of the pack and he eventually carded seven-under 65 to win his eighth Sunshine Tour title.

The front nine was Burmester at his best, as he started the final round three shots off the lead which was held by Englishman Steve Surry. Burmester birdied the first, and then made three birdies in a row from the third. He followed that with an eagle on the sixth, and another birdie on the eighth.

“I kind of like getting off to a bit of a flyer like that,” said Burmester. “I played flawless golf and the putts went in on that front nine. They didn’t drop on the back nine though. I pushed the par putt on 17, expecting it to break because that green slopes so much, so I don’t know what happened there. But fortunately the golfing gods were looking over me on the 18th.”

He parred his way to the 16th, and, after the dropped shot on 17, he made amends with a great birdie on the closing hole to round things off.

Pieter Moolman took second place on 15-under-par with a closing 66, while former South African PGA Championship winner Louis de Jager finished third on 14-under-par, also with a final round of 66. Surry took fourth place on 13-under with a 72.

For Burmester, the win has capped a good year and given him place in South African golfing history with his name on the trophy of the second-oldest championship in the country.

“This is massive,” said Burmester, who lost in a playoff for this title to Jaco van Zyl in 2016. “I’ve come close to winning this a couple of times before. I’ve always wanted to get my name on this trophy with a lot of the legends of the game, and I had high expectations for this week. I’m just glad I managed to do what I came here to do.”

It was his first Sunshine Tour title since his victory in the Tshwane Open in 2017, and his victory in the European Tour’s Tenerife Open in May gave him his second title on that circuit at that win in the co-sanctioned Tshwane Open.

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