European Tour pro in contention in Dubai after being in car accident on eve of tournament
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That Dean Burmester shot a three-under 69 on the Majlis course during the first round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic was notable on its own, given how difficult the conditions where during Thursday’s opening round. Firm greens, thick rough and gusty breezes left the day’s scoring average at 74.11 and put the 30-year-old South African just two strokes off the lead of Thomas Pieters in a tie for third place.
Burmester’s round becomes even more notable in light of what happened on Wednesday night. That’s when he and his family were involved in a car accident while taking an Uber from the golf course to their hotel in Dubai.
Thankfully, it sounds like everybody was OK—although the car has seen better days.
Having a late tee time on Thursday was likely helpful for Burmester, who had extra time to physically and mentally prepare to play his first round. And given his recent play—he has missed the cut in all four previous starts on the European Tour during the 2019-’20 season—you could imagine he already was anxious about how he might do in the desert.
Burmester's solid play continued on Friday when the one-time European Tour winner shot a second-round 68 to sit in a tie for second place with Bryson DeChambeau and Robert Karlsson, one stroke back of leader Eddie Pepperell. It was his best start in a tour event since the Portugal Masters in October., where he eventually finished T-14.
“Yeah, it was pretty hectic,” Burmester said after his round on Friday. “We went to the aquarium and on our way back we took an Uber on the way back to the hotel. And there was traffic on the other side of a blind rise, and our Uber driver was just too slow and so we went into the back of a Porsche. And then there were four cars involved, but luckily we just got away with a couple of bumps and bruises and just thank God that we’re all OK.”
Burmester noted that indeed the accident did provide an unintended moment to reset himself.
“But, yeah, I think the major difference is probably my mental attitude towards it,” Burmester said after his round on Friday. “After the car accident you realize what's important in life and I think I was taking golf a little too seriously, so I just kind of relaxed and looked at the family and we're kind of just enjoying our time, so that's been the biggest difference.”