Rebula, Smith in pursuit of Sanlam SA Amateur title

SANLAM AMATURE GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPSTSHWANE, 4 March 2015 – Southern Cape’s Jovan Rebula is looking to add the Match Play title to his already impressive list of victories at the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship after making it through to the quarterfinal at Silver Lakes Golf Estate on Wednesday.

The 2014 Proudfoot Trophy winner beat Gordon Neale from Dove Canyon 3 & 2 to advance to the top 16 and defeated 36-year-old Gareth Clements from Country Club Johannesburg 1-up to reach the quarter-finals.

“I’m very satisfied with my golf going into the quarters,” Rebula said. “It’s going a bit better than it went in the Stroke Play Qualifier. I’m holing a few more putts now.”

The 17-year-old Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member kicked off the 2014 season with victory in the Nomads Coastal National Order of Merit at Royal Durban in January. He followed with victory in the Stroke Play Qualifier at Hermanus Golf Club a month later, but for a second year running the young gun was dispatched in the top 16.

Rebula did rally to win the Curro SA World International at Langebaan Golf Club a week later last year and hopes to improve his knockout record in South Africa’s flagship amateur championship this week.

“I’m really excited now going into the quarterfinals,” he said.

“Last year I could blame it on my fitness, but this year I’m much fitter. I’m also thinking differently, and swinging it much better.”

He could have his work cut out, though, as he comes up against good friend Jason Smith, the highest ranked South African left in the draw.

Jason Smith 05_GNGUThe former South African Stroke Play champion was down his match against Jason Rossiter from Krugersdorp until the 14th hole, but closed out the contest 2&1 courtesy of four birdies in his final six holes.

“It was a battle for me today,” the TuksSport Golf Academy member said.

“Jason kept me on my toes and out of all my games this week I enjoyed this one the most

The country’s number two ranked player admitted he felt the pressure.

“Coming down the stretch Jason really put me under pressure,” he said, “I had to make a really good putt on 16 for birdie to halve the hole.”

The Irene golfer said a strong mental approach would be key to progressing further in the draw.

“Mentally. I’ve been in the best space since I started playing,” he said.

“I’ll just go out there and do my best. I just have to go out there and hit some good shots tomorrow and hopefully it will all work out.”

All three Scottish players involved in the last 16 progressed to next stage.

Calum Fyfe defeated Bryce McCabe 3 & 2, Connor Syme beat Marco Loubser at the 19th hole and Daniel Young downed Carlo O’Reilly 3 & 2, but one Scot will definitely bow out as Fyfe and Syme will face off in the quarter-final.

“We’re all playing well, a few guys got knocked out early,” said Young, who represented Scotland at both Under-16 and Under-18 level. “It’s good to see a few of us hanging tough, though.”

The Pertshire golfer will come up against reigning Gauteng North Silver Salver and Gauteng North Stroke Play champion, Theunie Bezuidenhout from Rustenburg Golf Club, who knocked out Dylan Naidoo 1-Up

Marco Steyn, winner of the Northern Amateur in July last year, also advanced with a 1-up victory over Andrew van der Knaap from Centurion.

The Modderfontein golfer reeled off five birdies in a row from the fourth hole to go three up after eight, and dug deep coming down the stretch as his opponent responded with two birdies and an eagle.

“When I started getting on the birdie run, that stretch just got me into a positive mood and ready for the back nine,” Steyn said.

The pair all square with two to play when Steyn bogeyed the par three 16th hole, but par at the 17th and a birdie at the last helped the fifth-ranked junior in the country to the narrow triumph.

“I’m very excited as I made the semi-final last year,” Steyn said. “If I could do that again, it would be fantastic.”

For his efforts, Steyn will do battle with Adam Botha of Durbanville Golf Club, who ousted Danie Viljoen 3 & 2.

Jovan Rebula beat Gareth Clements 1Up
Jason Smith beat Jason Rossiter 2 & 1
Calum Fyfe SCO beat Bryce McCabe 3 & 2
Connor Syme SCO beat Marco Loubser 19th hole
Marco Steyn beat Andrew van der Knaap 1Up
Adam Botha beat Danie Viljoen 3 & 2
Daniel Young SCO beat Carlo O’Reilly 3 & 2
Theunie Bezuidenhout beat Dylan Naidoo 1Up

Gareth Clements beat Teaghan Gauche 5 & 3
Jovan Rebula beat Gordon Neale USA3 & 1
Jason Rossiter beat Reynhard Reynecke 6 & 4
Jason Smith beat Philip Kruse5 & 4
Bryce McCabe beat Cameron Moralee 2 & 1
Calum Fyfe SCO beat Werner van Wyk 3 & 2
Marco Loubser beat Matthew Kiewitz 2-Up
Connor Syme SCO beat Craig Ross SCO 1-Up
Andrew van der Knaap beat Adriel Poonan 5 & 4
Marco Steyn beat Herman Loubser 1Up
Adam Botha beat Neal Herman 2 & 1
Danie Viljoen beat Luke Trocado 1Up
Daniel Young SCO beat Albert Venter 2Up
Carlo O’Reilly beat Andre Nel 6 & 4
Dylan Naidoo beat Scott Gibson SCO 2Up
Theunie Bezuidenhout beat Keegan de Lange 19th hole

PHOTO – Former Proudfoot Trophy champion Jovan Rebula and former South African Stroke Play champion Jason Smith reached the quarter-final in the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship at Silver Lakes Golf Estate; credit Catherine Kotze/SASPA.