Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes, LIV Golf Correspondent
Mar 11 2024
- 4 MIN
Burmester Stinger HK recap

HONG KONG – Stinger GC was left to rue what might have been after a sizzling start to LIV Golf Hong Kong was followed by two mediocre days on the Fanling Course as the all-South African combination ended up a disappointing ninth in the team standings.

On the individual front, Dean Burmester fared best. The long-hitting Zimbabwean fired scores of 7-under 63, 69 and 68 to share eighth place at 10-under, two strokes better than his captain Louis Oosthuizen, who ended up in a tie for 19th.

Charl Schwartzel, who had finished joint second the previous week in Jeddah, failed to maintain that form in Hong Kong as he wound up joint 41st while Branden Grace ended a disappointing three days at 1-under, in a three-way share of 45th place.

All this after the Stingers had surged into a one-stroke lead over Bryson DeChambeau's Crushers GC after the opening round at Hong Kong Golf Club. On a day of low scoring, Burmester led the way with his sparkling 63, Oosthuizen weighed in with a 64 and Grace provided the third counting score with a 67.

"A highlight is seeing Stinger at the top of that (first-round) leaderboard, which is really good," said Burmester, who had been unable to practice in Hong Kong on the Tuesday before the tournament due to illness. "We had a good week last week in Jeddah and the Crushers did something crazy on that Sunday, but I see they're right behind us again. Hopefully we can do something to them this week."

The Stingers came desperately close to victory in Jeddah and led by seven strokes heading into the final round before losing steam. They had to settle for second place after being blown away by the Crushers, who collectively posted an astonishing 20-under total in the final round.

"It was obviously a tough pill to swallow," Burmester said about Jeddah. "I saw Bryson in the locker room, and I used some language. But all in good spirits. I was like, 'Damn, you guys are tough to beat. For them to shoot in that wind 5-under average for four guys, 20-under par, is just crazy. So, credit to them."

While Burmester could only applaud the Crushers for their last-day form in Jeddah, he was delighted with his own form in Hong Kong during the opening round.

"For me personally, it was a great day," he smiled. "I've been pretty ill this week ... but seems to be every time I get ill, I seem to play okay, so that's great news."

Burmester suffered from a stomach bug last December at the South African Open, and came close to withdrawing from the tournament after he vomited out on the course. However, he ended that week by winning the title.

In Hong Kong, he made a slow start to the opening round before catching fire after the turn.

"I went through a stretch there on the back nine - birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie - and that eagle putt just caught the right edge perfectly and beautifully," Burmester said. "I'm really happy with the way my day went, obviously, and happy with the way the boys played, too."

However, the Stingers were not able to maintain that red-hot form over the next two days on the Fanling Course where low scoring was plentiful.

By the end of round two, they had slipped to eighth on the team leaderboard after Schwartzel, Burmester and Oosthuizen had combined for a mediocre 3-under score.

In Sunday's final round, they fared even worse. Burmester and Oosthuizen closed with 68s, Schwartzel signed off with a 70 and Grace battled to a 72 as the South African quartet delivered a 2-under aggregate, pushing them back into a very disappointing ninth place.

The Stingers will now regroup before preparing for their next tournament, the April 5-7 LIV Golf Miami at Trump National Doral. Overall, they know that this season has yielded many more positives for them than negatives and they have already come close to team victory in two of their first four starts - in Mayakoba (where they wound up fifth) and in Jeddah.

"Hopefully we can build on this and get a win somewhere," said Oosthuizen. "All four of us are playing pretty good."