SA team named for World Amateur in Mexico

WATCCollageCAPE TOWN, 24 June 2016 – The South African Golf Association (SAGA) have named Southern Cape’s Jovan Rebula and Central Gauteng pair Marco Steyn and Dylan Naidoo to represent South Africa at the biennial World Amateur Team Championships in September.

“The International Golf Federation moved the date for team selection forward to 1 July this year and we considered a number of factors in deciding on the Eisenhower Trophy team, including the rankings and the players’ performances over the last 12 months,” said SAGA acting president, Geoff Taylor.

“Jovan is currently the top ranked player on the SAGA Open Amateur Rankings and he secured his place in the team with consistently good performances at home and abroad. He was also the natural choice to captain the team in Mexico, having represented South Africa in various international team events in the last four years.

“Marco and Dylan merited selection not only based on their individual records at home, but their outstanding performances for South Africa in several team events in the last two years.

“James du Preez, who is currently ranked third, has been named the non-travelling reserve, should Jovan, Marco or Dylan be unable to take up their spot in the team and SAGA Golf Integration manager Eden Thompson will accompany the team to Mexico.

“The Eisenhower Trophy draws the very best in amateur golf from around the globe and all three our players have proven themselves worthy to challenge. They are confident and capable to face strong international players and have proven themselves worthy of representing South Africa at this prestigious international team championship.”

Rebula rose to number one with victories in the Eastern Province/Border Stroke Play and Western Province Amateur Championship in April, a runner-up finish in the Southern Cape Open and six notable top 10 placings on the national circuit.

The 19-year-old Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member also moved to 110th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings following a top 15 finish in the St Andrews Links Trophy earlier this month.

“I’m absolutely over the moon to have made the South African team,” said the George golfer from the London Golf Club in England, where he is competing in the prestigious Brabazon Trophy.

“It is an incredible honour for me to represent our country at the Eisenhower Trophy. I have dreamt about this and worked really hard towards achieving selection and it is going to be something special to tee it up in Mexico with Marco and Dylan.

“I am really grateful to the SAGA for selecting me and indebted to my parents and the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation, who has given me incredible support and opportunities to realise my dream.”

Eighteen-year-olds Steyn and Naidoo from Modderfontein Golf Club established their credentials early in the selection process.

The pair excelled at junior level, including two Sunshine Tour Junior victories for Steyn in 2015. Naidoo won the Nomads SA Boys U-17 and U-19 Stroke Play Championships and also took second in the internationally acclaimed Optimist International Junior Golf Championships in the United States.

They pair further entrenched themselves in the team in 2016 when Steyn followed victory in the Free State Open with four top five finishes, while Naidoo also notched four top five finishes, including the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship final.

“Marco and Dylan also hold impressive records in team events, which further supported their selection,” Taylor said.

“They were pivotal to Central Gauteng’s victory in the 2014 Challenge Cup Teams Tournament and represented the union in the SA U-19 and SA U-23 Inter-Provincials. Last year Marco was also a member of the victorious Central Gauteng team at the Premier SA Inter-Provincial. They helped Tuks Sport High School to victory in the 2014 SA High School Championship and sealed a hat-trick of wins for Modderfontein Golf Club in the Louis Oosthuizen SA Junior Club Teams Championship.

“Both players contributed to South Africa’s victories in the All-Africa Junior Golf Championship in 2015 and 2016 and they recently combined with Dylan Mostert and Herman Loubser to secure a joint fourth place finish at the Junior World Cup in Japan, where Dylan also finished second overall in the Individual Competition.”

Steyn and Naidoo described the Eisenhower Trophy as the ultimate prize in their short careers.

“This is all I have been working towards for the last two years and to crack the nod for Mexico is the ultimate prize,” said Steyn. “This is such an incredible honour and I am stoked beyond words.”

“Jovan, Dylan and I have a lot of work to do over the next couple of months to ensure that we are in peak condition, but we will go above and beyond to make sure we fly the flag for South Africa with pride.”

Golf RSA National Squad member Naidoo agreed.

“The World Amateur Golf Championship is the ultimate prize for an amateur golfer; it’s the highest amateur accolade you can get. I have had some cool moments in my career, but to represent South Africa at the highest level has always been my dream, so to get the big phone call was huge and I am really, really happy that I made the team. I am super excited to join Jovan and Marco and we will give everything we’ve got to win this for South Africa.”

The 2016 edition will be contested from 21-24 September at the Mayakoba El Camaleón Golf Club and Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club, designed by Pete Dye and Greg Norman respectively.

South Africa’s best previous performance in the World Amateur Team Championship was a runner-up finish at Pinehurst Country Club in North Carolina in 1980.

PHOTO – Jovan Rebula, Marco Steyn and Dylan Naidoo will represent South Africa in the Eisenhower Trophy at the 2016 World Amateur Team Championship; credit Ernest Blignault.