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Dean Burmester finishes first round with a flourish to lead at Leopard Creek

Dean Burmester finishes first round with a flourish to lead at Leopard Creek

Dean Burmester produced a brilliant burst of scoring on the back nine to lead by one stroke after the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The two-time DP World Tour winner treated his home crowd to some magnificent iron shots and lengthy putts as he posted a 65 to get to seven under par.

After carding two birdies and one bogey on the front nine, Burmester picked up six shots after the turn to overtake early clubhouse leader Lukas Nemecz, who had shot a 66 in the morning.

Things could have been even better for Burmester, who narrowly missed his eagle try at the par-five 13th after sending his second shot to within ten feet before coming agonisingly close to holing his approach at the 17th.

Nemecz was alone in second place on six under after making seven birdies and a solitary bogey.

There were four South Africans in the five-strong group in a tie for third - Darren Fichardt, Jaco Ahlers, Deon Germishuys and Branden Grace - along with France's David Ravetto.

Burmester opened his birdie account at the fourth before picking up another shot on the sixth courtesy of a six-foot putt.

He dropped a shot at the short seventh but bounced back with a perfectly-judged lengthy birdie putt at the tenth.

The 33-year-old trickled in his birdie try at the 11th to make it two in a row before producing a shot-of-the-day contender at the long 13th.

He lifted his approach to around ten feet to set up an eagle try but he instead had to settle for a birdie there.

Burmester continued to create chances, and poured in from around 20 feet for a birdie on the 15th to get within one shot of early leader Nemecz.

The in-form South African nearly holed his iron shot at the par-four 17th for an eagle there, but his consolation prize was a tap-in birdie and a share of the lead.

He launched a booming drive almost 400 yards down the long 18th before notching a birdie there to lead on his own.

Burmester said: "What a back nine. 

"Some of the best I've played in a little while so I'm happy to do that."

When asked if the wind was difficult to judge at times on day one, Burmester said: "Very tricky.

"We had up to three clubs at times and then we had nothing. And then it was moving around as well.

"The 15th hole, the tee-shot was downwind and then my ball mid-flight went into the wind.

"The third shot was kind of into off the left, into off the right, all over the place.

"And then we got to the 16th and there was no wind. But managed to deal with it."

Early starter Nemecz flew out of the blocks, reeling off three successive birdies at the first, second and third.

He was unable to save par at the short seventh but managed a bounce-back birdie on the eighth to return to three under.

After beginning the back nine with a birdie at the tenth, Nemecz picked up two more shots at the 13th and 15th.

He came close to finishing with another birdie but his putt at the 18th somehow did not drop.

This is Nemecz's first visit to Leopard Creek Country Club but the venue has already made a big impression on him.

He said: "I don't think words can describe (Leopard Creek). 

"It's just very special, it's amazing. And so far I'm obviously loving it on the golf course and off the golf course.

"I'm really happy to be here - it's exciting."

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