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Whilst uncertainty remains lingers over his colleagues’ eligibility for next summer’s Open Championship, one LIV golfer has already secured his place at Royal Troon.

Dean Burmester’s victory in the Joburg Open in his native South Africa has assured him of a third start in the oldest major, after he previously played at Royal St George’s and St Andrews.

The 34-year-old claimed a three-shot victory after posting four rounds in the 60s, including a second round 62, to win on the opening weekend of the new DP World Tour season.

Burmester resigned from the former European Tour in May after joining LIV Golf at the start of the year. He was an ever-present for compatriot Louis Oosthuizen’s Stinger GC on the Saudi-funded circuit this year, finishing 14th on the individual standings.

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With the Joburg Open being co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, he was eligible to play in the tournament and, by winning, becomes the second active LIV player to triumph on the DP World Tour, following Cam Smith’s Australian PGA victory last year.

Significantly for Burmester, who has seen his world rankings slip from 55th to 154th since he joined LIV, the Joburg Open was the first event in the Open Qualifying Series, which offers players opportunities around the world to qualify for golf’s original championship.

Dean Burmester

Consequently, he’ll be heading for Scotland next summer to vie for the Claret Jug.

“I actually can’t describe what’s really happened,” he said. “The fans are always fantastic at home in South Africa and I’m so happy to be home and playing at home and eating a bit of braai meat and having a good time.”

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Darren Fichardt – fresh off regaining his card at the Qualifying School – was Burmester’s nearest challenger, finishing two shots clear of defending champion Dan Bradbury.

Both Fichardt and Bradbury will join Burmester at Royal Troon next summer.

Another three places into The Open will be available to the leading three non-exempt players at this week’s Australian Open.

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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

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