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Competing at Southern Hills is like playing in Joburg - SA’s Dean Burmester

SA’s Dean Burmester said playing at Southern Hills in the PGA Championship was like being back home in Johannesburg. Picture: Erik S. Lesser/EPA

SA’s Dean Burmester said playing at Southern Hills in the PGA Championship was like being back home in Johannesburg. Picture: Erik S. Lesser/EPA

Published May 20, 2022

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Centurion - Dean Burmester led the South African charge on day one with a one-under 69 in the first round of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club, in Oklahoma, on Thursday.

Burmester ended in a tie for 16th, four shots behind Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy who led the way with an opening five-under 65. Americans Will Zalatoris and Tom Hoge were tied for second on four-under 66.

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Burmester’s round included three birdies, but he ended bogey-bogey to drop to one-under. Despite the finish, it was a solid round of golf for the 32-year-old.

Burmester said after his round, playing at Southern Hills felt like being back home in Johannesburg.

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“I stepped on the first tee and I just felt right at home. It kind of reminds me of a course back in South Africa up in Johannesburg. Obviously not Bermuda; we play kikuyu out there.

“But knowing I was comfortable off the tees and being able to hit the golf shots, then it was easy. It was just trying to figure out where I leave my golf ball on the greens and what shots I want to leave myself coming in.”

Burmester said he drew inspiration from Zimbabwe’s Nick Price who won the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in 1994, and SA’s Retief Goosen who won the 2001 US Open at the same course.

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“I think Nick Price also won around here and Retief has won around here, so they've given the guys quite a bit of advice. I know the golf course has changed a little bit, but all in all, the green complexes are pretty similar,” said the Zimbabwe-born Burmester.

“It's a second-shot golf course. It's about where you put your ball on the greens, because if you short-side yourself around here you're going to have some nasty lies.

“We're lucky enough to play practice rounds with guys like Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel and kind of draw off them.”

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The trio of Shaun Norris, Justin Harding and Charl Schwartzel opened with one-over 71 for a share of 38th.

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Down in 78th place on three-over 73 were Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen.

Garrick Higgo and Daniel van Tonder signed for rounds of four-over 74 in a tie for 99th. Erik van Rooyen was a further shot adrift on five-over 75 in 114th position.

Oliver Bekker battled for an eight-over 78 in a tie for 138th.

@Golfhackno1

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