Ireland's Robin Dawson made the final with a 3&2 victory over countryman Jack Purcell
photo courtesy The R&A
ABERDEEN, Scotland (June 22, 2018) -- The host country's hopes may have been eliminated in the round-of-16 at Royal Aberdeen, as Scots Sandy Scott and Stewart Easton lost their matches. But for South Africa, tomorrow's final match marks an opportunity to capture the historic Amateur Championship title for the first time in 52 years.
And if that's not enough, Jovan Rebula will represent his country in tomorrow's final against Robin Dawson (Ireland) with both players knowning spots in the 2018 Open at Carnoustie, plus the 2019 Masters and U.S. Open are on the line.
Rebula, 20, got to the final in convincing fashion. He had some help from his opponent Mitch Waite, who conceded the first two holes and two more before the front nine was over, going 5-down at the turn.
Rebula is the nephew of two-time Champion Golfer of the Year Ernie Els, who will no doubt be following the final match on Saturday.
As for Ireland's hope of winning the title, one thing was assured, that at an Irish player would make the 36-hole final.
That's because Robin Dawson's opponent today in the semis was fellow countryman Conor Purcell, who in the morning's quarterfinal match got the better of top-ranked Australian David Micheluzzi. Perhaps that match took a lot out of Purcell, as he lost the first hole to Dawson and never got it back, going down 3&2.
As for Rebula's rode to the final, it was a front nine story.
Rebula, an Alabama Crimson Tide golfer, moved in front early at No. 2 after Waite conceded. He continued to build on his lead through consistent play on the front nine, getting to 5-up by the time the pair had made the turn. The Englishman, who struggled throughout, pulled one hole back with a birdie at the No. 11 but the prospect of a comeback was squashed when Rebula birdied No. 12.
Rebula closed out the match with a perfect approach shot to No. 14. He will attempt to become the first South African to lift the historic trophy since Bobby Cole at Carnoustie in 1966.
"It's a bit of mixed emotions as everything happened so quickly this morning," admitted Rebula. "This is all what we play for, this is all what we’ve been preparing for for months. I've been working hard towards this so being able to reach the final is such a big thing and hopefully I can take it a step further tomorrow."
"Today was great but it wasn't easy. They are both good friends of mine from being in Ireland teams in the past but we had a couple of good friendly matches out there today," said Dawson of his fellow countrymen.
In the morning quarter-finals, Rebula saw off the challenge of England's Tom Sloman 2&1 and Dawson booked his semi-final berth coming through another all-Irish tie with recently crowned St Andrews Links Trophy champion John Murphy, also 2&1.
The winner of The Amateur 123nd Championship receives an exemption into The 147th Open at Carnoustie, the 2019 U.S. Open (Pebble Beach Golf Links) and, by tradition, an invitation to the 2019 Masters Tournament at Augusta National in Georgia.
Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Aberdeen, Scotland, was founded in 1780 and claims to be the sixth oldest golf club in the world. The Club hosted the 2011 Walker Cup, which saw the GB&I defeat USA. (A young Jordan Spieth was a member of the USA team that year.) The course -- referred to as Balgownie Links -- sits hard by the North Sea, with holes running out and back. The legendary first hole starts at the clubhouse and ventures straight downhill to the Sea, with large oil platform supply vessels anchored at the ready to head out to the many rigs at sea. It's an almost strange, yet peaceful site as you try to find the tight fairway below.
ABOUT THE British Amateur
This championship, along with the US Amateur
Championship, is considered the most
The first stage of the Championship involves
288 players each of whom plays two rounds of
18 holes, one to be played on each of the two
courses. The 64 lowest scores over the 36
holes and ties for 64th place will compete in
the match play stage of the Championship.
Each match will consist of one round of 18
holes except the Final which will be over 36
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