Written by
Mark Lamport-Stokes, LIV Golf Correspondent
Apr 07 2024
- 4 min
Burmester Win Miami

MIAMI - Late into the final round of LIV Golf Miami, two Stingers players were vying for victory while the all-South African combination was contending strongly for team honors on the challenging Blue Monster layout at Trump National Doral.

As it turned out, the individual crown did go the Stingers' way with an emotional Dean Burmester finally breaking through for a LIV Golf League title by beating Sergio Garcia on the second playoff hole.

However, Stinger GC captain Louis Oosthuizen saw his own bid for victory unravel as he triple-bogeyed the par-4 17th and he had to settle for a closing 1-under 71 and a share of seventh place.

Oosthuizen's late collapse did not help his team's cause and the Stingers wound up in third spot, seven strokes behind the triumphant Legion XIII GC. As for the other team members, Branden Grace signed off with a 72 while Charl Schwartzel returned a 75.

Overall, though, the day belonged to the 34-year-old Burmester, who played alongside Oosthuizen and Englishman Tyrell Hatton in the first group to tee off from the par-5 first.

Burmester, who has produced superb form over the past six months and won consecutive tournaments co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour late last year, hardly missed a beat on the challenging Blue Monster layout in the final round.

He mixed five birdies with a lone bogey on the tricky par-4 18th after an errant drive sailed right, closing with a 4-under 68 for an 11-under total. He then waited as the pacesetting Garcia three-putted the last to fall back into a tie and force a playoff, which Burmester won with a comfortable two-putt for par. Garcia bogeyed the hole after finding water with his approach shot.

"Man, that was a long day," Burmester said after being showered in champagne by Oosthuizen on the 18th green. "This is a tough golf course. But I think getting paired up with Louis helped me a lot, kind of kept me calm. It didn't help he kept draining all those putts. I was doing my own thing and he made putt after putt. I thought we were going to have a good battle Stinger against Stinger and unfortunately it didn't go his way, but it was a special day, certainly one I won't forget."

Three times on the back nine, Oosthuizen moved into a share of the lead. He birdied 10 and 13 for a five-way tie at the top, and then rolled in a 25-footer for birdie at the 14th to join Burmester in a two-way tie. Oosthuizen drained a 10-footer to birdie the 16th and briefly join Garcia and Burmester in a share of the lead. However, he then found successive bunkers at the 17th before ending up in water to the right of the green en route to a triple-bogey seven, effectively scuppering his chances of victory.

For Burmester, it was all about staying patient on one of the toughest courses around.

"It's that kind of golf course," said Burmester, who sank a 7-foot birdie putt at the driveable par-4 16th to forge a stroke clear at 12-under before slipping back with his bogey on 18.

"It's just a really, really tough beat-you-up kind of golf course. If you hit bad shots, you're going to make bogeys at best. That was kind of my mantra ... just give myself as many birdie putts as I can and make pars and if a couple go in that's great because nobody is going to shoot 59 around here.

"This is a monster of a place and it's hosted so many great championships over the years and now it's hosting us and I feel privileged to have won here."

The long-hitting Burmester clinched his 10th career professional title at the Joburg Open in November, winning by three shots after closing with a superb 6-under 64. That victory earned him a spot in this year's Open Championship at Royal Troon, and the following week he made it back-to-back titles with a three-stroke win at the Investec South African Open.

Tasting further success in a world-class field on a Blue Monster layout which hosted the PGA Tour's elite WGC-Cadillac Championship from 2007–2016 was a significant achievement for him.

"This win is special because coming over... I wanted to prove myself against a lot of the best players in the world, a lot of major champions," Burmester said. "Now that I've done that a year and a half in, I'm super stoked and proud of myself and now we're going to try to do it again.

"I feel like I've played some really great golf over the last five, six months. The two wins back home in South Africa before Christmas were special, two tournaments I've wanted to win for a long time, and to win the South African Open, which is the second oldest tournament in the world, is a privilege. I thought I held myself really well there. And to come here on a golf course like this that's major worthy and to beat major champions, I'm happy to have done that."