South Africa’s Jovan Rebula revealed he’s been receiving nightly coaching from his major champion uncle during this week’s 123rd Amateur Championship in the Granite City.
Rebula, 20, swept into today’s 36-hole final at Royal Aberdeen by beating Englishman Mitch Waite 6&4 at Balgownie. At the halfway stage, he’s one up against Ireland’s Robin Dawson. The winner will earn a place at next month’s Open Championship, as well as next year’s Masters and US Open.
Student Rebula – who attends Auburn University in Alabama – was near flawless from tee to green in his semi with Waite yesterday.
He took a five-hole lead by the ninth as Waite, who accidentally snapped his driver across his back on the sixth, lost his composure.
Rebula did lose a hole – the 11th – but got back to five up on the 12th, before Waite conceded the 14th to give him the win.
Afterwards, Rebula said his uncle, double Open champions Ernie Els, has been encouraging him every night by text.
He said: “I got a text message last night from him, he’s obviously playing golf just now as well.
“He said ‘get some rest, you’ve got a big day tomorrow, grab the bull by the horns’.
“We’ll probably talk later on tonight again.
“He’s been awesome honestly. It’s always motivating. You can go to him with a down vibe, but you always walk away feeling good.”
In Rebula’s effortless swing and unerring aim, it’s impossible not to see the resemblance to “The Big Easy” in his prime.
Rebula, who pointed to “hitting it unbelievably good in the wind” as his secret this week, said: “A lot of people admire my golf swing.
“I don’t think about it a lot but it just came to me naturally. Tempo is a big thing,”
Of his plan for the finale, Rebula said: “I’m just going to get some good rest and not think about the golf.
“It’s going to be a good day and a long day.
“I’m honestly looking forward to it. I’ve got my friend Matt Saulez on the bag, who lost in the first round (of matchplay).
“His friendship means a lot to me. We always travel together to tournaments and I’m having a blast with him on the bag this week.
“I’m just going to try to enjoy it, play the game, play the golf course. The things I’ve been doing this week have worked so far. Hopefully it’ll carry on.”