Jovan Rebula reaches British Amateur final with uncle Ernie Els' support

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Jovan Rebula reaches British Amateur final with uncle Ernie Els' support

Amateur

Jovan Rebula reaches British Amateur final with uncle Ernie Els' support

ABERDEEN, Scotland – Jovan Rebula has matched Ernie Els’ feat of reaching the British Amateur Championship final. The difference is Rebula will play in the 36-hole deciding match, unlike his famous uncle.

Rebula exceeded Els’ British Amateur record when he defeated England’s Mitch Waite, 6&4. He faces Ireland’s Robin Dawson after Dawson bettered fellow Irishman Conor Purcell 3&2. The 20-year-old is bidding to become the only the second South African winner after Bobby Cole in 1966. 

Els reached the 1988 final at Royal Porthcawl. However, he was caddying for teammate Ben Fouchee, who lost to Sweden’s Christian Hardin. 

Els missed the cut in this week’s BMW International Open on the European Tour. He’s been keeping tabs on his young nephew all week.

“Every night he’s been sending me messages,” Rebula revealed. “We have our own Afrikaans slang and I got a text message last night which basically said: ‘come on boy.’ Then he said ‘take it on and grab the bull by the horns’. 

“We have a very tight relationship. He’s always motivating me. He’s been awesome.”

Rebula’s been awesome for seven rounds at Royal Aberdeen. Waite was no match for the tall South African. Rebula didn’t have to complete four of the first nine holes because Waite conceded the holes to him.

Waite destroyed his chances by snapping his driver after a poor drive on the sixth tee. The act was one of frustration rather than anger, but it didn’t help his cause. However, he needed to be exceptional to beat the classy South African. 

“I’ve got a good feel for this golf course,” Rebula said. “It’s difficult to stay calm in these windy conditions but I’ve handled it well. We’ll just see how it goes tomorrow.” 

Dawson took advantage of a lack of sharpness from Purcell over the opening holes to race to a two-up lead after three holes, which became three when he birdied the par-5 sixth. 

“Hitting the fairways is the key and holing the odd putt,” Dawson said. “I’ve played a lot of solid shots and I’ve had a good game plan.”

The smart money says Rebula becomes the second South African winner, a victory that will give him considerable bragging rights over Uncle Ernie.

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