Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes, LIV Golf Correspondent
Jun 05 2024
- 5 MIN
Stingers preview Burm story image

HUMBLE, Texas - Successful teams very often benefit from a talismanic figure and Stinger GC have certainly drawn a great deal of inspiration from the in-form Dean Burmester so far this season.

As the all-South African combination prepares for this week's LIV Golf Houston, they can once again look to a player who sits third in the individual standings, tied for 12th at last month's PGA Championship and earned a spot for next week's U.S. Open in final qualifying on Monday.

The long-hitting Burmester has produced superb golf over the past seven months, winning consecutive tournaments co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour in South Africa late last year and then clinching his first LIV Golf individual victory in Miami in early April.

"Obviously my game feels really solid," Burmester said while preparing for Friday's opening round at the Golf Club of Houston. "I feel like I'm in control of what I can control. That's the main thing with golf. As long as you do that and you stay patient, the game will give back eventually. That's what's happening at the moment.

"I'm just getting a couple of lucky bounces that sometimes you don't get, and on top of that I'm capitalizing on a lot of the good shots that I am hitting. It's a fun time to be playing golf again."

Burmester has finished in the top 15 in six of his seven LIV Golf starts this season, and that includes four top-10s. He ranks fourth in driving distance (313.4 yards), joint fourth for greens in regulation (74.87 percent) and eighth in scrambling (68.42 percent).

Asked if there was anything specific in his game which had led to his improved results since last November, he replied: "I think a lot of mentality. I've put a lot of hard work on that side of my game, and then being surrounded by great teammates helps. When you're up, they make you feel like you're up, and when you're down, they pick you up.

"It's amazing to have that with the Stingers ... all four of us get on very well and it's a great time to be part of the team. Louis (Oosthuizen) has had a good start to the season, Charl (Schwartzel) has been playing great, and we all know it's a matter of time before Branden (Grace) is in contention for a win again. If you're a Stingers fan, it's a great time to be a fan. And if you're a player, it's certainly a fun time to be playing."

As a team, Stinger GC has been hit-or-miss in the LIV Golf League this season with three podium finishes and three results of ninth or worse in seven starts.

Their best performance was a runner-up spot in Adelaide, where they were agonizingly beaten in a playoff for the title by Ripper GC, while their lowest moment came in Las Vegas, where they struggled in surprisingly cold temperatures before finishing 12th out of 13.

Asked if there was any particular explanation for this up-and-down form, Burmester replied: "I think because all four scores now count on a Sunday. If we look at it from a statistical point of view, it's definitely that. That Sunday is kind of hurting us a little bit. But if all four of us can pitch up on a Sunday, we'll be up there."

The last time the Stingers tasted team victory was just over a year ago - at LIV Golf Tulsa in May 2023 - so they are long overdue success. This could well be their week and Burmester likes the look of how the Golf Club of Houston layout sets up for the all-South African combination.

"It suits the long hitter, so I'm excited to see it," he said. "I know it's Bermuda (grass), which is obviously in Florida what most of us are playing. So yeah, I think the set-up will probably be good for us.

"It looks like windy conditions this week, and it's been windy in Florida of late, so it should be a fun week for us. All of us have grown up with a bit of wind and can play golf in the wind. So, if the course suits everybody's eye, I think it'll be a good week for us."