There is winning, and then there is winning in style, with a bit of panache thrown in. This one had all of the above. Closing with a best-of-the-day nine-birdie, nine-par 62 that took him to 25-under for the week, Dean Burmester ultimately strolled to a five-shot victory at the €1.5 million Tenerife Open.
Best of the rest in the distant wake of the 31-year-old Zimbabwe-born South African turned out to be Nicolai Von Dellingshausen. The German’s eagle at the 548-yard par-5 18th took him past Kalle Samooja and Adrian Meronk, who tied for third on 19-under. The increasingly consistent American John Catlin, three times a winner in his previous 14 European Tour events, pulled up alone in fifth spot.
It was Burmester’s day though, right from the start. Beginning one shot behind Samooja and Von Dellingshausen, the World No.168 began with a brace of birdies, then made three more in his next five holes. Standing on the eighth tee, he was ahead to stay. Four more dips under par would follow on the picturesque 6,857-yard Golf Costa Adeje lay-out, as the gap between the eventual champion and his increasingly out-paced challengers grew and grew.
“I was actually nervous at the start,” said Burmester, a seven-time winner on the Sunshine Tour whose only previous European Tour win came in his homeland, at the 2017 Tshwane Open. “It’s been four years of struggle and hard work. If you’re not nervous standing on the first tee before the final round and you’re in one of the final groups there’s something wrong with you. But a good putt for birdie on the first settled me. Then I hit a lovely shot into the second as well. From there, it was really all about trying to give myself 18 birdie chances. I knew someone was going to go low. It just happened to be me today.”
Still, for all that, this was his eighth win as a professional, yet it represented something of a step-up for Burmester. Never before had he tasted victory outside the African continent. But what pleased him most was the way he handled the pressure of being in contention. Only one week earlier he had failed that test, closing with a 71 at the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open to be passed by several and finish T-38.
“Last week I played really nicely for three days and then shot one over on Sunday,” said Burmester, who will move into the top 20 on the Race to Dubai and (probably) just inside the top 100 in the world. “That was purely mental, getting in my own way. So on Friday I said to myself, OK, this weekend I’m going to learn from that and not get in my own way and just let it happen. And if it’s my time, it’s my time. So I drew on that experience and that helped a lot.”