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Burmester storms to maiden victory in Pretoria

Burmester storms to maiden victory in Pretoria

Dean Burmester fired a closing 65 to win his first European Tour title in emphatic fashion at the Tshwane Open.

Dean Burmester

The South African turned in 29 and opened up a six-shot lead at one point on Sunday before the nerves appeared to kick in and he came home in level par to finish the week at 18 under.

That jittery finish allowed Spaniard Jorge Campillo and Finn Mikko Korhonen to get within three shots but it was a comfortable win in the end for Burmester.

He entered the week without playing privileges on the European Tour after finishing 140th on last season's Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex but Sunday's win represented a continuation of some excellent early season form.

A top ten finish at the BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni earned him a spot in the field for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship where he went on to claim seventh spot.

A tie for 11th at last week's Joburg Open left the 27 year old feeling confident a first European Tour win - to add to his six Sunshine Tour triumphs - was not far away and he duly delivered at Pretoria Country Club.

The victory could take him into the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking and means that South Africans have won this event in four of its five stagings.

"I can't believe it," he said. "I've had an amazing summer and last week was a frustrating day for me on Sunday and it didn't go my way but then my family and everyone who supported me said 'we're coming up next week so you better win in front of us' and I'm glad to have done that.

"I sharpened my teeth as a youngster on the Big Easy Tour here at home and I think I had five seconds in one year and then two years later I had four wins on the Sunshine Tour.

"It's gone strength to strength and now I'm a European Tour winner and that sounds great."

It's gone strength to strength and now I'm a European Tour winner and that sounds great - Dean Burmester

Burmester had a ragged start off the first tee, finding some nasty rough, but he did well to find the green with his second and holed a lengthy left-to-righter to join the leaders.

There was no such unorthodox route to birdie on the second, a drive down the middle and an approach to tap-in range moved him to 14 under and the solo lead.

A huge drive down the third left Burmester with a flick into the green and he was looking formidable with a third birdie in a row handing him a three-shot advantage.

A pair of pars followed but his approaches to four and 12 feet on the sixth and eighth produced further birdies before he took advantage of the par five ninth.

Another birdie came on the tenth despite finding heavy rough off the tee and while a bogey stained the card on the next, he got up and down from the sand for a gain on the par five 12th.

A stunning tee-shot on the par three 14th moved him to 20 under before he had back-to-back bogeys after finding the sand on the 16th and 17th.

"I just knew that if I could get unscathed through 13, 15 and 16 I should pretty much be home and dry," he added. "I made a great par on 13 next to the tree and then birdied 14 and kind of calmed down.

"Bogeys at 16 and 17 weren't great but I was just trying to keep myself calm."

Korhonen turned in 32 with gains on the fourth, eighth and ninth and recovered from a bogey on the 11th to make further birdies on the 14th and last.

Campillo responded to a bogey on the fourth with gains on the sixth and ninth. Another dropped shot followed on the tenth but three birdies in his last five holes saw him card a 68.

American Peter Uihlein signed for a 66 to finish at 14 under, a shot clear of Swede Alexander Björk, who was level par for his final round.

Jacques Blaauw, Paul Dunne and James Morrison were then at 12 under, with Ben Eccles, Peter Karmis and Justin Walters two shots further back.

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