Johannesburg - An absence of South African winners in the BMW PGA Championship has aroused Dean Burmester’s interest in taking part.
The PGA Championship, one of the key events and one of the oldest tournaments on the European Tour – founded in 1955 – tees off at Wentworth Club in Virginia Water in Surrey, England, on May 25. It is sponsored for $7 million (R90 million) and was previously called the British PGA Championship.
The 27-year-old Zimbabwean-born South African captured the Tshwane Open title, and his maiden win, on the European tour at Pretoria Country Club last Sunday.
He carded an under-par 18 for a total of 266 and beat Spain’s Jorge Campillo and Finn Mikko Korhonen by three strokes. He must have smiled all the way to the bank with a cheque for R2.3m in his back pocket.
He told City Press that he was looking forward to making his presence felt on the big stage by clinching the BMW PGA Championship.
Burmester said that he was motivated to compete because of the lack of winners from South Africa in the contest since its inception 62 years ago.
“No South African has won the championship since it started. It will be nice for me to lay my hands on its trophy. I’d like to take my current form, which made me win the Tshwane Open, to Wentworth and do it for South Africa.”
Extremely fired up
The son of former Zimbabwean cricketer Mark Burmester, Dean said his enthusiasm to compete in the event was also prompted by the fact that the renowned English rock band Status Quo would add spark to the event by performing on the night of the third day as the tournament’s headliner.
“I love that band with a passion. I will be motivated by some of their songs to win the championship.”
Burmester made three consecutive birdies to start his final round and took the stuffing out of his pursuers to capture the big one.
And he is looking forward to proving his mettle on the big circuit by adding the championship scalp to his other big wins in a space of two months.
Burmester boasts seven Sunshine Tour wins, including his Tshwane triumph, which was a co-sanctioned event.
“The PGA Championship is one of the most special events on the European Tour calendar – it’s played at Wentworth, which is one of the special golf venues in England,” said Burmester.
“I will be competing in the event and I am confident to win as I’m extremely fired up.”
Burmester, who has had six top-10 finishes on the European Tour, said he hoped to be lost to the local Sunshine Tour from next year as he would be competing in Europe.
“The Nedbank Golf Challenge, which will be played in November at Sun City, will probably be my last one locally before I focus on playing abroad,” said Burmester.