PRETORIA, South Africa — Southern Cape’s Jovan Rebula has one hand on the Match Play trophy at the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship after beating gritty competitor Calum Fyfe from Scotland 1-up in their semi-final at Silver Lakes Golf Estate on Thursday.
The 17-year-old George golfer will face off against Danny Young, the last Scot standing, who ousted Durbanville’s Adam Wood 2 & 1.
To his credit, Rebula did not trail at any point during his tightly-contested skirmish with the Cawder Golf Club golfer, however, Fyfe rallied to level the match at the 12th hole.
Rebula holed out for eagle at the par-five 14th to edge ahead again and clung to his advantage until the 18th, where he sunk a two-putt birdie at the final hole to book his place in the 36-hole title decider on Friday.
“I was just trying to keep the mental side of my game as positive as I could,” said Rebula, who will endeavour to emulate his famous uncle 29 years after Ernie Els defeated Tony Louw 5 & 3 at East London Golf Club to lift amateur golf’s most prestigious title.
“I think I achieved my goal with the way I played today. I hit the ball well, putted like I wanted to and I thought the way I wanted to.”
Fyfe showed steely resolve to reel in five birdies after a bogey start, but the 17-year-old couldn’t deny Rebula a place in the final.
“I really enjoyed playing against Calum,” said the 17-year-old George golfer. “I think he hit just about every single fairway and it's tough playing against guys like that.
“It starts getting frustrating when a guy hits it straight all the time and hits every single green. It's not easy playing against a guy that doesn't make mistakes.”
The Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation member said the eagle on 14 made the difference.
“When Calum hit it into the water at 14, I just tried to take advantage and played for the middle of the green,” Rebula said. “Fortunately, the eagle putt fell.
“That was a great confidence booster. The last couple of holes wasn’t that enjoyable, but I managed to keep my composure. I am just really excited about the final.”
Rebula shot to prominence when he lifted the Nomads SA Boys U-17 Championship title in 2013.
He won the 2014 Nomads Coastal National Order of Merit at Royal Durban, claimed the Proudfoot Trophy for winning the 36-hole Stroke Play Qualifier at last year’s Sanlam SA Amateur Championship and won the Curro SA World International at Langebaan Golf Club in March.
Young and Botha both got to an impressive six under par and was all square through 14 holes, but Botha handed the Scotsman the victory with bogeys at the 16th and 17th holes.
“I played really well all day and made a lot of birdies,” said Young from Graigie Hill Golf Club.
“I managed to make a bunch of birdies. It was really tough and I was just grinding away towards the end. Adam played great, it was a really tough match.
“I did well just to hang on to his coat-tails around the turn, because he was really dialling in with his wedges.”
Young, a member of the Scottish Golf Union’s National Mens Squad, completed four successful years at Lynn University in Florida. He won three times domestically, including the Cameron Corbett Vase in 2013 which earned him a Men’s Home Internationals bow.
A prolific winner of college events in the US, earning 2-time All-American honours and 3-time All-Sunshine State Conference honours.
“It would be a great way to finish off this eight-week trip over here,” said the 23-year-old.
“A lot of us have been playing really well. Hopefully I can bring the trophy back to Scotland tomorrow.”
For the most updated match play bracket, click here.