Jovan eyes uncle Ernie’s glory

2014-03-16 10:00

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Youngster is one of the hottest players in the country right now

Top amateur golfer Jovan Rebula is determined to surpass the achievements of his famous uncle, Ernie Els, on the golf course.

The 16-year-old Western Cape-born player is the son of Els’ sister, Carina.

He has been selected to be in the four-member team to represent the country in the All Africa Junior Golf Championship at the Chainama Hills Golf Club in Zambia from April 28 to May 1.

Rebula’s selection to play in the Zone 6 event came after he won the Curro SA Juniors International tournament at Langebaan Golf Course in Western Cape last Friday. He beat Altin van der Merwe by one shot in the boys’ division.

Rebula, who has chalked up a string of other notable achievements for himself as an amateur, is arguably one of the hottest players in the country right now.

He said he was looking forward to setting his own records and surpassing his uncle’s accomplishments.

But the player will obviously have to put some extra effort into his game to be on par with The Big Easy, a man whose feats include four majors.

“My uncle is doing well in the pro ranks,” said Rebula about Els. “To be honest, I’m looking forward to playing better than him in future when I venture into the professional leagues.

“I think, unlike Ernie, my amateur record speaks volumes and this shows I will beat his accomplishments soon.”

The Grade 11 pupil at Höerskool Outeniqua in George, Western Cape, has made it clear that he was not stealing the limelight from Els, but was merely trying to raise the bar in golf.

Rebula was inspired by his uncle’s performance at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last month. In turn, this inspired the youngster to a one-stroke victory in the 36-hole qualifying tournament for the Sanlam SA Amateur Golf Championship at Hermanus Golf Club in Western Cape.

Rebula led the country’s top amateur event when he followed up his first-round 70 with a second round of 66 to top the leaderboard on eight under par and claim the Proudfoot Trophy.

The Ernie Els Foundation member says he is hoping to turn pro in two years’ time.

“Ernie lives in the US, but he has a holiday house in George, where we live. He teaches me the finer points of golf whenever he’s here on a vacation. My aim is to be better than him when I turn pro and prove that golf victory runs in our family,” said Rebula.

He said that after his Curro SA International accomplishment, he was invited to play in the German Junior Masters event in Germany later this year.

SA Golf Association president Andre Pieterse said the South African team would do well in Zambia.

Rebula’s mother Carina is exceptionally proud of her son.

“The boy is winning game after game.He has a bright future in the sport.”

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