Friday, June 22, 2018

South African Jovan Rebula will face Irishman Robin Dawson in the final of The 123rd Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen Golf on Saturday.
Rebula was never behind in the semi-final as he eliminated England’s Mitch Waite with a convincing 6 and 4 victory. The 20-year-old, who is the nephew of two-time Champion Golfer of the Year Ernie Els, is the first South African to reach the final since Zander Lombard, who lost out Bradley Neil at Royal Portrush in 2014.
 Dawson came through his match with countryman Conor Purcell by recording a 3 and 2 win. Taking the first hole of the semi-final, the 22-year-old never looked back as Purcell failed to recapture the form that saw him defeat top ranked Australian David Micheluzzi in the morning.
Rebula, who plays collegiate golf in Alabama, moved in front at the 2nd hole after Waite conceded. He continued to build on his lead and found himself 5 up at the turn. The Englishman, who struggled throughout, pulled one hole back with a birdie at the 11th but the prospect of a comeback was dealt a swift and sudden blow when Rebula recorded a birdie of his own on the par-5 12th.
The 192nd world ranked golfer closed out the match at the 14th in clinical style with the perfect approach shot to secure victory and progress through to the final, where he will attempt to become the first South African to lift the historic trophy since Bobby Cole at Carnoustie in 1966.
Dawson, who won the Irish Open Amateur Championship at Royal County Down in May, showed maturity and patience to book his spot in Saturday’s 36-hole final. The R and A Foundation Scholar made himself difficult to beat by boasting a bogey-free card.
Despite Purcell’s attempts to impose himself on the match, pulling a hole back at the par-3 8th to cut Dawson’s lead to 2 holes after he went 3 up at the 6th, Dawson’s victory was never in doubt. The GB and I St Andrews Trophy squad member was made to wait, however, when Purcell produced an excellent birdie at the 14th.
But Dawson, number 35 in the World Amateur Golf RankingTM , held his resolve and completed his victory over Purcell at the 16th.
In the morning quarter-finals, Rebula saw off the challenge of England’s Tom Sloman 2 and 1 and Dawson booked his semi-final berth by coming through another all-Irish tie with recently crowned St Andrews Links Trophy champion John Murphy, also 2 and 1.
The winner of The Amateur 123nd Championship receives an exemption into The 147th Open at Carnoustie, the 2019 US Open and, by tradition, an invitation to the 2019 Masters Tournament.
The 36-hole final gets underway tomorrow at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club's Balgownie Links at 8.30am. For scoring and updates visit
Key Quotes
Jovan Rebula
“It’s a bit of mixed emotions as everything happened so quickly this morning. 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.
“Mitch didn’t have one of the greatest days out there today but in all honesty I’ve been playing really good golf, hitting the ball so solid through the wind today, putted really well and didn’t make any mistakes.
“On Mitch’s side he made a couple of more mistakes than I did, but my game was really solid and I kept the ball in play all day. I took advantage on the holes you need to attack, played it clever out there and I’ve got a good feel of this golf course at this stage. I’m honestly having so much fun out there.
“Ernie Els sends me text messages every night. When I made the cut to get into this position he said “you know you can do it, just stick to your game and you know you’re good enough.” Obviously getting messages like that from a guy that has achieved way more than this is really special. We have a really tight bond and a really good relationship. Wherever he plays I send him a text message and when I’m playing he does the same, so we’re always communicating with each other and wishing each other the best.
“I’ve honestly not even had the time to think about that (The Open) and I’ve just been taking it as it comes. I’m not even looking at my opponents beforehand. I just take it easy and spend time with my mates. They’ve been a great support structure. Also, they keep me motivated and it’s awesome having one of my good friends (Matt Saulez) on the bag too. It’s always pleasant.
“The Open is the biggest tournament in the world and we all admire that tournament so much, we’re always tuned in for it. To us The Open is definitely a bigger deal.
Robin Dawson
“It feels good. I’m somewhat relieved to make it this far and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m a bit tired now so it’ll be good to get a good sleep tonight and get set for tomorrow.
“Today was great but it wasn’t easy (playing against fellow countrymen). 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. It was nice.
“Conor Purcell had a great week, beat some tough players as well, like David Micheluzzi, who is number 19 in the world. He’s had a great week so he should be happy with himself.
“I had a good strategy in place and was just hitting decent shots. My swing was good and I was in my own little world at times out there, which was great.
“I’ve known Jovan Rebula for a couple of years now from going down to play in tournaments in South Africa so it’ll be nice. It should be a good game tomorrow.
“To get the chance to play in one major, never mind three, is great. I would love that opportunity but there is still a lot of golf to play tomorrow. “



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