KENT, England (20 June 2017) – Southern Cape’s Jovan Rebula and fellow GolfRSA National Squad members Albert Venter, Garrick Higgo, Luca Filippi and Kyle McClatchie are in good shape after the first round of the Amateur Championship stroke play qualifier in England.
Rebula leads a group of 13 South Africans among the 288 global starters at the Royal St George’s Golf Club and neighbouring Prince’s Golf Club, where only the top 64 will advance to the knock out match play phase after today’s final round.
The George golfer raced to an opening six-under-par 66 at the par-72 Prince’s course and will start his final round at Royal St George’s within two shots of first round pacesetter Gisli Sveinbergsson from Iceland.
“I started with a bogey, but eagled the second and that set me up nicely for the round,” said Rebula.
“I hit a good tee shot and had 200 metres left to the flag. I knocked a low four-iron to 15 feet and made the putt. I holed a 20 footer at the third and boxed an eight footer at the fourth and that set the tone for the round.
“It was also great having my grandfather on the bag and I credit him for the good start. He flew out to England to come and watch me play. I was disappointed with my performance in the St Andrews Links Trophy, so we spent some time on the driving range and he gave me a few tips.
“While I was warming up, he asked me if he could caddie for me. I love having him on the bag, because it’s great having him to talk to. Everything I know, I learned from him and no-one knows my game better.”
The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation player added birdies at six and eight and ended a run of straight pars on the back nine with a birdie at the closing hole.
“I felt in control of my game,” Rebula said. “I struck the ball really well and hit a lot of greens and I made the putts I needed to. Where I missed a green, I made the par save and I never put myself into any real trouble.
“St Georges is a much tougher course and this start puts me a strong position. I just need to keep this positive game going and produce another solid score to seal my spot in the match play.”
Venter produced five birdies at the Prince’s course for a three under 69, while juniors Higgo and Filippi and reigning English Open Stroke Play champion McClatchie all returned rounds of two-under-par 70 at the Prince’s course.
GolfRSA National Squad player Dylan Naidoo and compatriot Gregory Royston are also still on the right side of the cut-line after rounds of 71 at the Prince’s course, but the rest of the South African contingent played themselves into early trouble.
Marco Steyn and Keegan de Lange carded 73s and Christo Lamprecht and Matthew Rushton 74s at the Prince’s course, while Rupert Kaminski signed for a 74 at Royal St George’s and GolfRSA National Squad player Matt Saulez posted an opening 77 at the Prince’s Golf Club.