Ernie Els, nephew Jovan Rebula paired together at South African Open

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Ernie Els, nephew Jovan Rebula paired together at South African Open

Euro Tour

Ernie Els, nephew Jovan Rebula paired together at South African Open

Auburn junior Jovan Rebula has been measuring himself against uncle Ernie Els since he started playing golf. He’ll get to do it for real in the $1.2 million South African Open.

Rebula and his famous uncle will tee it up in the third round at Randpark Golf Club near Johannesburg after they were drawn together in the 8:20 a.m. tee time alongside Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre.

The native of George, South Africa, earned the right to play alongside four-time major winner Els after posting a 1-under 70 around Randpark’s Firethorn course. He moved to 5 under and into a tie for 15th alongside Els, who shot level par on the Bushwillow course.

Charl Schwartzel leads the field after an 8-under 63 around the Bushwillow course. The 2011 Masters winner sits on 12 under, one shot in front of Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya. Overnight leader Louis Oosthuizen shares third place on 10 under with countryman Zander Lombard and former UNLV player Kurt Kitayama, winner of last week’s Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open.

Els is seeking his fourth South African Open title, while Rebula would probably be happy to win the Freddie Tait Cup as leading amateur. Rebula is one shot ahead of South African teammate Wilco Nienaber in the hunt to finish low amateur.

Rebula has already surpassed Els in the royal and ancient game by winning the British Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen this year. Els played in three straight British Amateurs between 1987 and 1989. The furthest he got was the fourth round in 1989.

“He’s done a lot for me over my career,” Rebula said after winning the British Amateur. “We’ve got a very good relationship. It’s always special to have someone like that you can talk to.”

No doubt the pair will talk quite a lot to each other during the third round, but there should be a little extra incentive for both. Els won’t want to lose to his nephew, while Rebula will be trying desperately for family bragging rights.

MacIntyre, who played on last year’s Great Britain & Ireland Walker Cup team and graduated to the 2018-19 European Tour by finishing 12th on the Challenge Tour money list, should enjoy his ringside seat in this family fight.

Who’s your money on? Uncle Ernie to put his upstart nephew in his place, or the Auburn player to take his legendary uncle down a few pegs?

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