An emotional Dean Burmester won the Investec South African Open Championship by three strokes at the Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate on Sunday to claim back-to-back titles on the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour.
Burmester, the winner of last week’s Joburg Open, drew on all of his experience to post a final round 68 and add his name to the greats of South African golf with a winning total of 11 under par.
“Back-to-back – I’ve never done that before,” said Burmester, who also claims the double of having won both the South African PGA Championship as well as the Investec South African Open.
“To win this championship sponsored by a bank that gave me my first break is very special. It’s very emotional for me. I wanted to win this for the late Sam Hackner of Investec. I was waiting tables to make enough money to play tournaments. I’d go and practice in the morning and be tired because I only got home at 11pm from work. With Investec’s sponsorship, Sam gave me the opportunity to go and fulfil my dream. Six months later I won my first tournament and the rest is history.”
Burmester, who was close to withdrawing from this tournament with a stomach bug on Friday, set the stage for his victory with a magnificent 65 in the third round. He took that same energy into Sunday’s final round and showed his experience in a tense final round when he birdied two of his final three holes to pull clear of the pack.
“On the first tee on Saturday I said to my caddie we’re either shooting 65 or 85 today, but we’re going for it. Then I was just so calm on Sunday. I felt no nerves. I’m very grateful. This is a tournament I watched growing up and I watched legends like Ernie (Els), Retief (Goosen), Louis (Oosthuizen) and Branden (Grace) win this.”
Italy’s Renato Paratore, Sweden’s Jesper Svensson and South Africa’s Ryan van Velzen shared second place on eight under par.
Altin van der Merwe finished as the leading amateur to secure the Freddie Tait Cup on his first appearance in the Investec South African Open. Van Der Merwe closed with a 74 to finish on two over par and cap a magnificent year for GolfRSA’s number one ranked player.
“It’s been so much fun this week. The golf course was a great test and the professionals I played with were so good to me. Playing here as the number one amateur and to have the fans and my whole family out here and my fiancé caddying for me as well has been awesome. To add my name to the Freddie Tait Cup means a lot to me, especially being in the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation as well and to do it for them and Ernie and my family. It’s a huge honour for me,” said the 27-year-old.