Dean Burmester let his driver do the talking when he won the Investec South African Open by three shots. Gary Lemke

Boom, boom! Armed with a driver that worked like a bazooka off the tee, Dean Burmester tamed Houghton Golf Club and Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate within the space of a week to pick up the Joburg Open and Investec South African Open. In doing so, he became the first golfer since England’s Andy Sullivan in 2015 to complete that particular double.

The 34-year-old Burmester, who wore the “S” logo of the LIV Golf team, the Stingers, as his sole markings on his shirt and cap throughout his dominant run, won on the DP World Tour for the first time since capturing the 2021 Tenerife Open.

“I knew I had to do something special and fortunately I was able to do that,” Burmester said after firing a final-round 64 to win at Houghton. A week later he was back at it, at the altogether tougher Blair Atholl, winning what many call the world’s second-oldest Open by three shots.

It came on a course which, at 7 523m, extended its reputation as the longest in DP World Tour history, having being lengthened by 65 metres from last year’s set-up. There are five par fives on the monster of a course – the 1st, 5th, 10th, 13th and the closing 18th. To show how Burmester dominated with his driver, he played them in a total of 10 under par. His final score of 277 was 11 under, which shows where the tournament was won and lost.

In the process Burmester, who had climbed into winning contention on the Saturday “Moving Day” with a round of 65, claimed his fourth DP World Tour (European Tour) title. That took the tally of South African wins on the Tour to six for the year, which matched the totals from 2016 and 2017. We have to go back 10 years to 2013 for the last time there were seven South African victories.

It means everything, just to have my two boys there seeing me out front, living out my dream – that’s everything, so I’m very thankful


1. Dean Burmester (SA)

   70-74-65-68 277

2. Renato Paratore (ITA)
    69-71-70-70 280
   Jesper Svensson (SWE)  
   68-67-74-71 280
   Ryan van Velzen (SA)  
   72-65-70-73 280

5. Alejandro Del Rey (ESP)
   70-74-69-68 281
   Frederic Lacroix (FRA)
   69-68-75-69 281
   Matteo Manassero (ITA)
   68-68-73-72 281
   Louis de Jager (SA)
   67-71-70-73 281
   Jayden Schaper (SA)
   70-70-67-74 281

full results

Burmester was claiming his fourth individual success, having won in Tshwane in 2017 and 2021 in Tenerife. He also joined four other South Africans to have won four titles on the Tour – Dale Hayes, Trevor Immelman, Gary Player and Thriston Lawrence. Dare we suggest that he’s getting into the discussion around winning a Major, despite the fact he’s restricted by his commitment to the LIV Golf Series? He already has an automatic invite to the 2024 Open Championship at Royal Troon, and his back-to-back wins saw him return to the world’s top 100 men.

Victory at Houghton had seen him go from 154th to 106th in the World Ranking, and the SA Open success further elevated him to 77th. That’s still short of the career-high 55th he reached after his fourth-place finish at the PGA Tour’s 2022 Sanderson Farms Championship in October 2023. He then decided to take the guaranteed riches on offer to set up his family financially and cross to LIV Golf, and he gave up his DP World Tour membership in May.

DEAN'S WIN IN PICTURES - Browse the gallery

It looked as though Burmester was set for an early exit at the SA Open, as he wasn’t feeling well on the Friday and was in danger of missing the cut. He finally signed for a 74 to land right on the line. Then, he had the weekend of all weekends, with rounds of 65 and 68 for 11 under and a three-shot win over GolfRSA prodigy Ryan van Velzen, Italy’s Renato Paratore and Sweden’s Jesper Svensson.

“Last week I won and my family wasn’t there,” he said after lifting the famous silverware at Blair Atholl. “This week I won and my wife and my two kids were there. So it means everything, just to have my two boys there seeing me out front, living out my dream – that’s everything, so I’m very thankful.”

He also paid respect to Investec, title sponsors of the SA Open. “To be involved in this tournament and to win it, with a bank that used to sponsor me and got me off the ground when I was just a kid is super special. So to be the SA Open champion is something I’ll never forget. It’s a tournament I watched growing up and I watched a lot of legends.”

They say nice guys come second. But Burmester has shown that they can win too.


Burmester’s reaction after winning back-to-back co-sanctioned Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour titles.




Altin van der Merwe capped his off his brilliant breakout season with the Freddie Tait Cup win

Altin van der Merwe proudly took his place alongside 2023 champion Dean Burmester during the presentation ceremony, excited to receive the prestigious Freddie Tait Cup as the Leading Amateur at the 113th Investec South African Open Championship.

The 27-year-old had already wrapped up the award by Friday evening, emerging as the sole amateur to make the 36-hole cut at Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate, and weekend rounds of 73 and 74 saw him finish in a tie for 57th.

“I’ve had a blast,” said Van der Merwe after completing his final round. “I knew when I came out here that it was going to be a tough week. I played pretty solid. I left a couple out there, but I also had some great moments, like the 30m eagle putt on the 18th on ‘moving day’. It’s been a dream week, and I am taking away much more than just the Freddie Tait Cup win.”

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“What’s this Freddie Tait Cup everyone is talking about?”

It’s been a dream week, and I am taking away much more than just the Freddie Tait Cup win

It’s been a dream week, and I am taking away much more than just the Freddie Tait Cup win

The Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation member also made his debut alongside world No 1 Christo Lamprecht and Christiaan Maas at the Eisenhower Trophy in Abu Dhabi in October, where the trio finished seventh – South Africa’s best finish at the World Amateur Team Championship since 1982.

Now his name will be etched on the trophy below those of Major champions Bobby Locke, Ernie Els and Trevor Immelman, and other legends of the game including Dale Hayes, Tony Johnstone, Hennie Otto, Branden Grace and Brandon Stone.

“It’s ridiculous to think that five days ago, I didn’t even know what the Freddie Tait Cup was. What an incredible honour it is to join some of the greats of the game,” he said.

“This year has been a wild ride, and I am so grateful to GolfRSA for giving me so many opportunities to improve and advance my career, and to the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation for all their support. I also have to give a shoutout to the crowds this week. I had an absolute blast playing in front of the fans, they were amazing and incredibly supportive.”

Meanwhile, Lamprecht (76-74) and last year’s Freddie Tait Cup winner Maas (73-73) were among the casualties of the cut that fell at level par and left 71 players in the battle for glory over the last two rounds. Other amateurs to miss the cut included Jordan Burnand, who rallied with a one-under-par 71 after an opening 80, and the country’s top junior, Dan Bennett, who followed up a first-round 72 with a 79 in the second round. The final two amateurs to miss the weekend action were the qualifiers Ivan Verster (78-77) and Keagan Crosbie (76-78).

Van der Merwe’s first taste of professional golf on the DP World Tour was certainly an eye-opening experience for the man ranked No 1 on the GolfRSA amateur ranking.

“I’d love to know what other courses are like on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, because I have never played anything this tough or this long,” he said. “Every aspect from tee to green is tougher and longer and it was really stressful, even though the professionals have all been really good to me.”

He also got an idea of the scale of the step up required to compete against the world’s best professional golfers.

“I’ve learned that I need to be more precise,” he said. “On every putt, every drive – everything I do. It doesn’t matter what shape you hit or whether you’re coming out of the fairway or the rough, you must be precise because there is very little margin for error. It’s a lot tougher out here.”

It’s been quite the year for the Bellville golfer. He has been in red-hot form this season, racking up five provincial wins and impressing abroad with a runner-up finish at the Scottish Men’s Open, a 10th-place finish at the Brabazon Trophy and a tie for 12th at the St Andrews Links Trophy.


Golfers gather to give back.

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