Louis Oosthuizen, Jovan Rebula cooking at home in South African Open

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 09: Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa kisses the trophy after victory in the final round on day four of the South African Open at Randpark Golf Club on December 9, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Louis Oosthuizen, Jovan Rebula cooking at home in South African Open

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Louis Oosthuizen, Jovan Rebula cooking at home in South African Open

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Louis Oosthuizen and Auburn junior Jovan Rebula both emerged as winners from golf’s South African Open. Oosthuizen finally won his home Open, while Rebula emulated his uncle Ernie Els by finishing as low amateur.

The South African Oosthuizen made his 11th appearance in his national championship and his first since 2010, when he matched his previous best result with a third-place finish. He became a nine-time European Tour winner Sunday by turning a three-shot advantage after 54 holes into a six-shot victory over France’s Romain Langasque.

Oosthuizen’s closing 4-under 67 at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg gave him an 18-under 266 and a check for just under $200,000. Langasque earned $138,000 after he posted a closing 66 to reach 12 under and take second on his own. England’s Oliver Wilson shared third place at 10 under with South Africans Thomas Aiken, Charl Schwartzel and Bryce Easton. They each made $63,000.

Oosthuizen, winner of the 2010 British Open, is one of six players to have won the South African Open and the British Open. He joined Bobby Locke, Gary Player, Bob Charles, Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson as winners of both. No wonder the 36-year-old was so emotional.

“I wish the family was here,” Oosthuizen said. “The crowd was great this whole week, it was nice to do it for them.

“I knew today was either going to be very special or heartbreaking. I know there’s only a few that have won The Open and the SA Open, so I’m very chuffed to have my name on this (trophy).

“We had a tough start today and my caddie just told me, ‘You’re swinging it well, just go for it.’ I just got back to basics, to try and hit fairways and greens. I know I’m putting well, I just needed to give myself putting opportunities for birdie.

“This feels very special. This is perfect.”

Oosthuizen moved to third on the 2019 Race to Dubai behind No. 1 Aaron Rai of England and former UNLV player Kurt Kitayama thanks to the 335 points he picked up.

Rebula already had realized one dream by playing alongside Els in the third round. The 21-year-old did not beat his famous uncle, but he more than held his own against the four-time major champion and returned a 1-under 70 to Els’s 68. He then achieved an important milestone by joining Els as winner of the Freddie Tait Cup as low amateur. Rebula, who won this year’s British Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen, finished T-24 at 6-under, four shots ahead of fellow amateurs Deon Germishuys and Yurav Premlall.

“I dreamt about winning the Freddie Tait Cup since I won my first junior tournament,” Rebula said. “It has taken me three tries to do it. I really had to grind it out today, but this rates right up there with winning the Amateur Championship. It’s incredibly satisfying to tick another huge box on my bucket list.

“Almost every major champion and top South African golfers have won the Freddie Tait Cup: Bobby Locke, Trevor Immelman, Charl Schwartzel, Hennie Otto, Branden Grace and Brandon Stone. If winning the SA Open is the ultimate prize for our South African pros, the Freddie Tait is the rite of passage for every South African amateur.

“My uncle (Els) won it in 1989, and I am so incredibly proud that I’ve kept the family tradition going and added my name to the past winner’s list.”

Rebula has one more year at Auburn before he starts trying to make inroads on Els’s achievements in the professional game.

Langasque, the 2015 British Amateur champion, earned a spot in next year’s British Open at Royal Portrush along with Schwartzel and Wilson, as the three players in the top 10 not otherwise exempt earned a place in the field. Gwk

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