European Tour

SA's Burmester vows to be more positive as European Tour restarts

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South African golfer Dean Burmester
South African golfer Dean Burmester
Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images
  • The European Tour will resume it's 2021 schedule this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
  • Dean Burmester is one of the 12 South African golfers to tee off at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on Thursday.
  • Burmester is looking to play more positive golf in 2021 on the back of a good 2020 season.

The European Tour resumes its 2020/21 schedule this week with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

The first event of the new season is headlined by a star-studded field, which includes defending champion and reigning European Tour No 1 Lee Westwood along with Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.

There will be 12 South African golfers teeing up in this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, which gets underway on Thursday.

European Tour winner Dean Burmester is part of the local contingent in Abu Dhabi and is looking to add to his 2017 Tshwane Open title.

Burmester had a stellar season in 2020, which included a coronavirus-induced break, as he made four top 10 finishes in 21 European Tour events.

He finished second in driving distance on Tour, smashing 328.81 yards with fellow countryman Wilco Nienaber slamming a tee shot at 340.47 yards.

Burmester only missed eight cuts in the year but failed to qualify for any of the three scheduled Majors in 2020.

Heading into the new year, Burmester is optimistic to what 2021 will bring as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm very excited to get 2021 underway, I'm really hoping to get things back to semi-normal worldwide... that's something I look forward to most in 2021... It's really tough travelling at the moment but hopefully, things ease up," Burmester told Sport24.

DEEP DIVE | How SA's golf courses survived lockdown in 2020

The European Tour has enforced stringent testing and health protocols on all players, caddies, media and essential staff in a bio-secure bubble.

The bubble applies to whichever country gets to host a European Tour event, as golfers adjust to playing during a global pandemic.

And after an unprecedented 2020, Burmester is looking to change his perspective by letting loose and having some fun on the fairways.

"I have small goals that I want to tick off week by week but mainly the benchmark is to go out there and express myself in a positive way and go and have some fun," he said.

"That's the kind of brand of golf that I'd like to play, to enjoy myself at the utmost no matter what happens whether I shoot a 95 or 65. I'm just trying to enjoy myself and have a carefree [attitude] and take a load off."

South African golfers are looking to continue their winning formula in 2021 after a successful golf season for the country on the European Tour.

In January, Branden Grace soared to his maiden SA Open title in front of a sea of home fans at Randpark Golf Club. But then a pandemic hit and golf was suspended for months worldwide as the coronavirus shook the sporting world.

The European Tour resumed in July from a four-month break and saw three South Africans face glory.

Hot off the heels of a Sunshine Tour victory, George Coetzee sealed the Portugal Masters title. Then a week later, 21-year-old Garrick Higgo claimed his maiden European Tour title at the Open de Portugal.

Local golf fans then witnessed the remarkable rise of Christiaan Bezuidenhout as the 26-year-old secured back-to-back wins at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and SA Open Championship.

South African tee times for Round 1 in Abu Dhabi (All SA times):

*07:20 - Laurie Canter, Romain Langasque, Wilco Nienaber

07:30 - Thomas Aiken, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Zander Lombard

08:40 - Hayden Porteous, Ashley Chesters, Dean Burmester

11:55 - Danny Willett, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Martin Kaymer

*11:55 - Nicolas Colsaerts, Joost Luiten, George Coetzee

*12:05 - Ross McGowan, Justin Harding, Matthew Southgate

*12:25 - Brandon Stone, David Lipsky, Alexander Bjork

12:55 - Joachim B. Hansen, Sebastian Soderberg, Richard Sterne

13:05 - Justin Walters, Julian Suri, Kalle Samooja

*13:05 - Marc Warren, Victor Dubuisson, Garrick Higgo

*10th hole

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