South African amateur Jovan Rebula in action. Photo: Ernest Blignault

CARNOUSTIE – Despite not producing the results he wanted this week at The Open at Carnoustie Golf Links, South Africa’s young amateur Jovan Rebula is sure that he can compete among the world’s best golfers.

Rebula, 20, carded rounds of 79 79 to miss the cut, but the future is indeed bright for the nephew of Ernie Els.

“I didn’t hit the ball the way I normally do, or putt the way I usually do. Which I see as a positive because I know when I’m on my game I know I can compete with these guys,” Rebula said on Friday.

“On the 1st tee, it was definitely like any other tournament. It's very nerve-racking. I feel like I handled myself well this week with the kind of golf I was playing. I kept my composure, I just kept a good mentality right through the week.

“The result wasn't what we wanted, but I could see myself playing at this stage one day. This was just a week where I didn't have my best stuff. I'm very excited for what the future holds.”

Rebula booked his ticket to The Open by winning the British amateur at Royal Aberdeen last month. In fact, the youngster had never even attended a Major before.

“I don't get a lot of opportunities to be able to play in these kinds of things or to even -- coming from South Africa, it's a lot of travel. So just to feel that atmosphere as a player for the first time is just unbelievable. I'm just really thankful for the opportunity.”

Next up for Rebula, who turns 21 on Sunday, is playing in the US amateur next month.

“I'll be going back home now after this and then going to play the US amateur in Pebble Beach, which starts on the 13th. So I’ve got a lot of hard work that's lying in front of me, and I'm going to go back home, take a couple days off, and then start working on my game.”

With a four-time Major-winner in Els for an uncle, Rebula acknowledged the phenomenal support he has received during his career.

“I have to thank the Ernie Els and Fancourt foundation and GolfRSA for their support during my career. And of course my uncle Ernie who is here this week. He has been a mentor for me growing up. And I have to thank Mr Johann Rupert and Grant Hepburn for all their work to support amateur golf in South Africa.”

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As for turning professional, for the golfer studying business and sports coaching at college in Alabama, USA, that can wait for now.

“I won’t be turning pro yet. I’m planning finishing school first, so not next year but the year after (2020).”

When he does decide to join the paid ranks, a bright future is most certainly on the cards. 

African News Agency (ANA)


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