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LIV golfer has himself quite a Sunday, winning DP World Tour event and qualifying for a major

November 26, 2023
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Luke Walker

When Dean Burmester resigned his DP World Tour membership in May to join LIV Golf, he probably figured his career win total on the Old World circuit would remain locked at two for the foreseeable future. And he had to think his chances of earning a spot in a major championship would fall, too, given he wouldn’t be earning Official World Golf Ranking points playing LIV events.

But the unique circumstances surrounding the Joburg Open, made possible the crazy storyline that played out Sunday at Houghton Golf Club in Johannesburg, South Africa. With a closing bogey-free 64 (and a 18-under 262 total), Burmester not only won his third DP World Tour title but also qualified for the 2024 Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Setting all this up was the fact that the Joburg Open was also co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, and the 34-year-old South African was exempt into it because of his national status. Coincidentally, the tournament was the first of nine tournaments that are part of the R&A’s Open Qualifying Series, where top finishes who haven’t already qualified for the Open earn spots based on their play (joining Burmester was Darren Fichardt, who finished second by three, and Dan Bradbury, solo third by five shots out of first).

“I actually can’t describe what’s really happened,” said Burmester, who is the third active LIV player to win a DP World Tour title, Adrian Otaegui becoming the first at the Andalucía Masters in 2022 and Cam Smith the second with his Australian PGA Championship win last year. “The fans are always fantastic at home in South Africa, and I’m so happy to be home and playing at home and eating a bit of braai meat and having a good time.”

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Luke Walker

Mind you coming to Burmester’s aid was the stumble from 54-hole leader Thriston Lawrence. Holding a one-shot lead on Burmester entering the final round, the 2021 winner shot a closing 75 that caused him to fall to T-7.

Burmester, ranked 156th in the OWGR entering the week after being inside the top 60 earlier in the year, had five top-10 finishes in 12 starts on the LIV circuit in 2023, twice posting T-3 performances while playing for Stinger G.C. along with fellow South Africans Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Brendan Grace. His last start before South African came in mid-October at the LIV team finale.

“I was a little rusty coming in but my team did such a great job getting me ready for this week ... and it paid off,” Burmester said. “I knew I had to do something special and fortunately I was able to do that.”