2 November 2017

South Africa: Burmester 'Loving' His Turkish Open Debut

Bloemfontein bomber Dean Burmester was champing at the bit to reignite what he termed "the best year of my career" at the Turkish Airlines Open on Thursday morning.

As he stood on the 11th tee to start the sixth event in the Rolex Series at the Regnum Carya Golf and Spa Resort and beamed a huge smile towards the fans surrounding the tee box, he left no-one in doubt about his delight to be back in the fold.

It certainly had been a dream season for Burmester up until July.

The Free State golfer bagged his first European Tour title with a sublime performance in the Tshwane Open on the back of a fourth-place finish in the SA Open and seventh in Abu Dhabi at the start of the season.

He continued to bank a succession of cheques, including a R2-million payday for a top 10 finish in the PGA Championship shortly before disaster struck.

Having spent six weeks on the bench nursing a grade one tear in his left shoulder, and another six to get match ready, Burmester declared himself back to full strength ahead of the $7-million showpiece at the second best golf resort in Europe.

"It's been a frustrating couple of months, but I'm ready to challenge," said the 28-year-old.

"I'm driving it really well, the irons are working nicely and I love the feel of this golf course. All I'm looking for is a solid start and to keep it going for four rounds."

Burmester shot a timely 65 in the final round at Wentworth in June, which guaranteed his spot in the Rolex Series before the injury.

"You know, there was a lot of new territory to cover in my first year on the European Tour, but I never really thought hard about the Rolex Series," said the Schoemans Park golfer.

"You have to play as many tournaments as possible to find the ones that suits you best, while all the time trying to chase ranking points. You're working towards the Rolex Series, but there is so many other factors at play.

"The injury shocked me. It was my first injury and to realise that you're out for at least three months was devastating. I guess I kind of expected that I would just pick up where I left off after the six weeks of rehab. I wasn't prepared for the battering my body took during the time away.

"I couldn't drive it nearly as far as I was before the injury and that ate away at my confidence. I had to stay patient and give myself time to bring my game back to the top level and it was stressful. You get closer and closer to the business end of the season, when you want to peak. It was a real baptism of fire in way and I would do things a lot differently."

Things started to click at the Portugal Open at the end of September and Burmester bagged another top 10 to solidify his position in the Race to Dubai.

Now he is targeting a solid performance in Turkey ahead of another debut appearance in next week's Nedbank Golf Challenge back home.

"I'm feel my whole game is solid and that's why I'm really excited to start this week," he said. "Next week will be tough, because the Gary Player Country Club is so unforgiving.

"I think the South Africans competing this week stand as good a chance as any of the top players in the field, because the Regnum Carya course rewards accuracy off the tee and good iron play. The fairways are pretty generous and the greens are running true and at a good speed. We can get a little more aggressive here and fire at the pins. This is a great course for me to reignite my season."

Fellow European Tour winners George Coetzee , Richard Sterne , Haydn Porteous , Dylan Frittelli and Brandon Stone complete the South African challenge in Turkey.

Source: Sport24

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