Dunne clinches career-best sixth place in Pretoria; 23 birdies in last 64 holes

Dunne clinches career-best sixth place in Pretoria; 23 birdies in last 64 holes
Paul Dunne

Paul Dunne

Paul Dunne played his final 64 holes in 17-under-par to finish a career-best tied sixth in the Tshwane Open on 12-under par and move halfway towards keeping his European Tour card.

The Greystones talent bogeyed five of his first seven holes at Pretoria Country Club, then made 23 birdies in his final 64, dropping just six shots.

Having dug deep to salvage a two-over 73 in round one, he then added a 68 to make the cut by one before blasting rounds of 65 and 66 over the weekend to win €35,772 and take his earnings from his first eight starts of the season to €126,201.

"After the start really happy with the week's work thanks for all the messages," Dunne tweeted. "Congrats @BurmyGolf long time coming. Delighted for you. #gent"

With a figure of around €250,000 the benchmark for keeping a European Tour card in recent years, Dunne will be looking to sew up his playing rights long term by winning an event soon.

Nevertheless, the grit required to come back from that horrid start, make the cut and then produce an 11-under par weekend was as impressive as any victory.

The € 190,054 top prize went to South Africa's Dean Burmester, who fired a closing 65 to win his first European Tour title by three shots on 18-under-par from Spaniard Jorge Campillo and Finn Mikko Korhonen.

He entered the week without playing privileges on the European Tour after finishing 140th on last season's Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.

But Sunday's win represented a continuation of some excellent early season form.

A top ten finish at the BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni earned him a spot in the field for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship where he went on to claim seventh place.

A tie for 11th at last week's Joburg Open left the 27-year-old feeling confident a first European Tour win - to add to his six Sunshine Tour triumphs - was not far away and he duly delivered at Pretoria Country Club.

"I can't believe it," Burmester said. "I've had an amazing summer and last week was a frustrating day for me on Sunday, and it didn't go my way but then my family and everyone who supported me said 'we're coming up next week so you better win in front of us' and I'm glad to have done that.

"I sharpened my teeth as a youngster on the Big Easy Tour here at home, and I think I had five seconds in one year and then two years later I had four wins on the Sunshine Tour.

"It's gone strength to strength and now I'm a European Tour winner and that sounds great."