BURMESTER CARDS 65 IN JEDDAH; STINGERS LOSE GROUND IN TEAM BYE RACE
KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia – It turned out to be a frustrating day for Stinger GC in the second round of LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHN as Dean Burmester fired the best score of the four while his team slipped backwards after making a red-hot start.
The long-hitting Burmester, captain Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel were all in red figures after the first seven holes of the day to tighten the Stingers' grip on securing a first-round bye for next week's Team Championship in Miami.
However, Oosthuizen and Schwartzel both lost momentum and, by the time the round was over at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in the regular-season finale, the all-South African team had lost further ground to RangeGoats GC in the hunt for that valuable bye. Heading into Sunday’s final round in Jeddah, the Stingers trail the Rangegoats by three strokes on the team leaderboard.
"We all know what we got to go," said Burmester, who produced sizzling early form with five birdies in a six-hole stretch, ultimately carding a 5-under 65 for a share of 16th place. "We've just got to tie or beat the RangeGoats, it's pretty simple, to get that bye. So we are going to come out firing tomorrow and give it everything. If it's not enough, it's not enough and that's okay but the goal is to get that bye for sure."
Also at 4 under was Oosthuizen, after a roller-coaster 69 that featured five birdies, two bogeys and a double at the par-3 11th. Schwartzel, who birdied his first, second, fourth and sixth holes of the day to briefly climb into a tie for fifth, wound up with a 67 that left him in a tie for 21st at 3 under. Brenden Grace was a further three strokes back after returning a 68.
For the LIV Golf Team Championship, teams will be seeded 1-12 based on the final regular season standings after Jeddah. The top four teams will receive a first-round bye in Miami and automatically qualify for Saturday’s semifinals. Teams seeded 5-12 will compete in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Defending champion 4Aces GC is the current points leader and the only team in Jeddah that has already secured a first-round bye. The next four teams in the standings – No. 2 Crushers GC, No. 3 Torque GC, No. 4 Stinger GC and No. 5 RangeGoats GC – are vying for the final three byes.
Asked how important it was to get a bye through to the semifinals in Miami, Burmester replied: "I think for rest, that's the most important thing. We are coming off this week, which has been really hot, and we know Florida is going to be pretty hot. So rest is going to be very, very important and those top four teams are definitely going to have an advantage come Sunday."
Burmester, who joined LIV Golf in February this year after earning his PGA Tour card via the developmental Korn Ferry Tour, has loved his time with the Stingers and cannot imagine himself playing golf anywhere else.
"Honestly, this experience has been extraordinary," said the 34-year-old who was born in Mutare, Zimbabwe. "I can't think of anywhere else I want to play golf. So my job now is to stay here and play here as long as possible. I've had the most fun, I get to see my family a lot more and I get to travel to a lot of events in America now.
"It my son's second birthday today so I had a little tribute to him before I teed off, which was pretty cool," Burmester added with a broad smile. "I drew a cake on my glove and that was quite nice. It reminded me just to chill out. But no, I have loved playing LIV Golf, my family has loved it and I am hoping the other three team members have loved it. The team element is so valuable: having three guys to be able to lean on after a tough day, and having three guys congratulate you after a great day. Golf can be a lonely place. You generally are playing all by yourself and it's very easy to get down on yourself. So to get off a golf course and joke around with three guys, it helps a lot."