matched Sullivan's back nine 28 in a round of 63 that left him a shot off the lead alongside another Englishman in Laurie Canter, who recorded a 65.
"Enjoyed it, especially on the back nine... The greens are receptive, which is kind of like playing in South Africa, you've got to control your spin and flight into the greens. The course is playing firey so it's playing a lot shorter than it normally would, which plays into my hands a bit," said Burmester.
"I actually played really well (the last two weeks), I just got in my own way. Hadn't played competitive golf for four and a half months. It's just nice to be back and it's taken me a couple of weeks to settle back in. There is always anxiety on the first tee, but this week I've felt really comfortable."
Three further home favourites in Richard Bland, Steven Brown and Andrew Johnston are among a group of nine players two shots further back on 11 under par.
Sullivan is currently tenth in the UK Swing Order of Merit after the first two events, with the top ten after the sixth and final tournament sharing an an additional Pound 250 000 to donate to the charity of their choice.
The top ten not otherwise exempt after the fifth event will also gain spots in the US Open at Winged Foot next month.
- European Tour