Burlison’s title hopes are sunk at Kingswood

Robert Burlison copyright Tom Ward

Robert Burlison was denied a maiden overseas victory when he lost a sudden death playoff for the Kenako South African World Juniors at Kingswood in George.

South Africa’s Jade Buitendag took the title on the first extra hole after both players shot a closing 68 to finish on 210, six under par, two strokes clear of the rest of the field for the 54-hole World Junior Series event.

On the first playoff hole, the par five tenth, Staffordshire’s Burlison played safe off the tee. It seemed a good decision when Buitendag drove his ball into one of the deep fairway bunkers. However, Burlison cut his second shot into water short and right of the green, which allowed Buitendag to splash out of the sand and play his third shot onto the green.

After Burlison had taken a penalty drop, he again missed the green right but managed to chip and sink a fairly long putt for a one over par six, which meant Buitendag had two putts to win, which he was able to do.

Buitendag, from East London, held a two-shot lead playing the par-five 16th hole and at that stage was five under par for his round. However, the 16th proved a pivotal moment as Buitendag dropped a shot and Burlison birdied, leaving the pair level on six under with two holes to play.

Burlison hit his second shot through the green on the 17th but then played an exquisite chip from the downhill lie to tap in distance for par. Buitendag two-putted for par and on the last both boys played excellent shots into a very tough back pin position. After Burlison had missed his birdie attempt, Buitendag’s 15-footer for victory shaved the hole which set up the play-off.

England’s other representative, Bobby Keeble from Essex, finished joint 36th on 227, 11 over par.

Burlison became the second England player in less than a week to be denied an overseas title following Neil Raymond’s defeat in the final of the Spanish International Amateur at La Manga last weekend.

Leading final scores

210 J Buitendag (SA) 71 71 68, R Burlison (Eng) 72 70 68 (Buitendag won playoff at 1st extra hole);

212 P Kruse (SA) 74 71 67, B Follett-Smith (Zim) 72 69 71, HP van der Merwe (SA) 68 73 71.

Other English score: 227 R Keeble 75 78 74