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Dean Burmester storms to victory in Johannesburg

Dean Burmester storms to victory in Johannesburg

Dean Burmester fired a brilliant bogey-free round of 64 to secure a three-shot victory on home soil at the Joburg Open.

The 34-year-old started the day three shots off top spot but took the lead on the fifth and never looked back, putting in a nerveless display to finish the week at 18 under.

South Africa's Darren Fichardt - fresh off regaining his card at the Qualifying School - was the nearest challenger after a 64 of his own, finishing two shots clear of defending champion Dan Bradbury, who signed for the same score.

Those three will now be heading to Royal Troon next summer, with the top three players not already exempt earning a spot in the 2024 Open Championship via the Qualifying Series.

Jacques Kruyswijk fired a 69, one shot more than fellow South African Zander Lombard as the duo finished at 12 under, one shot ahead of World Number 1,214 Nikhil Rama, with five home players in the top six.

The win for Burmester is his third on the DP World Tour and he was delighted to put on a "special" performance to overturn Thriston Lawrence's lead in front of the home fans.

"I actually can't describe what's really happened," he said.

"The fans are always fantastic at home in South Africa and I'm so happy to be home and playing at home and eating a bit of braai meat and having a good time.

"Thriston is an amazing competitor and he had a three-shot lead so I knew I had to do something special and fortunately I was able to do that."

Lawrence found the trees on the right with his tee-shot at the second and then the bushes on the left with his second, taking a drop to surrender a double-bogey and see his lead cut to one.

He was in a share as he failed to get up and down on the third and Fichardt was soon alongside him as he spectacularly holed out for eagle from the fairway on the second and made a nice up-and-down on the fifth.

Burmester hit the front on his own as he was one roll from an eagle on the fifth and his lead was two shots when he hit a stunning approach to three feet at the eighth.

Fichardt trimmed the advantage at the par-five tenth after laying up and leaving himself six feet but Burmester recovered well from a poor tee-shot to take advantage of the same hole and restore his cushion.

The duo were going toe-to-toe and Fichardt holed from five feet at the 13th but Burmester drove right up to the front of the green on the same hole and got up and down to have breathing space again.

A big drive down the 15th then allowed Burmester to set up a birdie from ten feet and he gave a fist-pumping celebration as the lead was stretched to three.

Fichardt holed from 20 feet on the last to wrap up solo second but Burmester had time to make another birdie from six feet on the 17th and seal a commanding victory.

Bradbury had bogeyed the second but he made a hat-trick of gains from the fourth, left himself seven feet at the ninth and holed out for eagle from the fairway to get into a share for second.

The Englishman hit a tee-shot to seven feet on the 14th and an approach to similar range on the 17th as he looked to set a testing target but a slip on the last resulted in a poor second and a bogey.

Lombard got up and down on the fifth and holed from ten feet at the sixth but had 16 pars apart from those birdies, missing a putt on the last that would have sent him to Royal Troon at Bradbury's expense.

Kruyswijk made birdies on the eighth, 13th and last but surrendered a double after finding water on the 15th, while Rama had two birdies and two bogeys in his 70.

South African Lawrence carded a 75 to finish at ten under alongside Malaysia's Gavin Green, who signed for a 64, and one ahead of local pair Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Jayden Schaper and Dutchman Darius van Driel.

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