JOHANNESBURG — South African golfer Dean Burmester took advantage of a final-round meltdown by overnight leader Thriston Lawrence to win the Joburg Open by three strokes on Sunday for his third European tour title, and first in 2 1/2 years.

Burmester made six birdies in a bogey-free round to finish on 18-under 262 for the tournament that came in the opening week of the 2024 season. Compatriot Darren Fichardt also shot 64 to finish second, two strokes ahead of defending champion Dan Bradbury in third place.

“I was a little rusty coming in but my team did such a great job getting me ready for this week ... and it paid off,” said Burmester, whose previous win was at the Tenerife Open in May 2021. “I knew I had to do something special and fortunately I was able to do that.”

It was South African-dominated leaderboard, with eight of the top 11 being home players.

Lawrence, who led after the first round and by three shots after Saturday’s third round, dropped four strokes in his first five holes and also had a double-bogey coming home in shooting 5-over 75. That was eight shots worse than any of his first three rounds and he finished in a tie for seventh on 10 under.

The 2024 European tour season began with the Joburg Open on Thursday, only four days after the 2023 one finished in Dubai.

The event marks the start of three straight tournaments taking place in South Africa and co-sanctioned with the country’s Sunshine Tour.

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