All the latest news and results among the talented young members of the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation.
1. Jovan Rebula (nephew of Ernie Els) wins Sanlam SA Amateur’s Proudfoot Trophy
Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation member, Jovan Rebula was so inspired by his uncle Ernie Els’s performance in the WGC – Accenture Match Play Championship in February that it carried him to a one-stroke victory in the 36-hole qualifying tournament for the prestigious Sanlam SA Amateur Championship at Hermanus Golf Club. Jovan is pictured above with his father Dragan (left) and Hannes van Niekerk, CEO of the EEFF.
Rebula led the qualifying for the country’s top amateur tournament when he followed up his first round 70 with a second round of 66 to top the leaderboard on eight under par and claim the Proudfoot Trophy. It was just enough to beat his good friend, Ross Sinclair, who took second place on seven under par and who held the clubhouse lead for most of the day after his 68. Teeing off at the 10th, Rebula birdied the last two holes to get the edge on his friend.
“Ross and I are really good friends and I congratulated him on a great round this morning,” said Rebula, “but at the back of my mind I was thinking ‘let’s try and give it a chase’ and that’s exactly what happened. I just had to stay patient. I was very patient the last two days and fortunately on the last two holes both putts dropped and I’m very, very happy about that.”
Rebula added, “Watching Ernie at the tournament in America, I was really happy that he did so well. And just watching how the professionals do it gets you in the right mindset for the main competition and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Sinclair commented, “I’ve had a great two days now. I’ve played some great golf, probably the best of my life so I’m very happy. I stuck to my game plan the whole way round. Even when I was tempted to pull out the driver, I stuck to my three-iron off the tee and it gave me great birdie and par opportunities so it kept me going low.”
Overnight leader Daniel Young of Scotland added a 73 to tie for third place overall on five under with South African number one Christiaan Bezuidenhout also a member of the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, who signed for an impressive 68.
Top 10 Results:
136 – Jovan Rebula (70, 66)
137 – Rosswell Sinclair (69, 68)
139 – Christiaan Bezuidenhout (71, 68), Daniel Young (SCO) (66, 73)
141 – Jamie Savage (SCO) (73, 68), Zander Lombard (73, 68), Rupert Kaminski (71, 70)
142 – Henri van Waart (72, 70)
143 – Luke Trocado (74, 69), Robert Bougas (Jnr) (72, 71), N J Arnoldi (72, 71)
2. Another big title for in form Bezuidenhout
Christiaan Bezuidenhout, a member of the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation and currently ranked the No.1 amateur in the country, claimed his second title this season in convincing style at the Sanlam Cape Province Open at the George Golf Club on Sunday 30th March. The 19-year old Bezuidenhout (70, 66, 70, 68 for 274: 14-under par) beat reigning Sanlam SA Amateur and former EEFF member, Thriston Lawrence, by three-strokes.
“I am really pleased with this victory,” Bezuidenhout said. “The scores might make it look like it was an easy win, but it was by no means easy. Thriston is a tough opponent. George is one of my favourite courses, though, and that made it even more special.”
Bezuidenhout will be leaving for England soon, where he will spend more than two-and-a-half months competing with the best amateurs in Europe. He will be playing in 11 top amateur events while staying with one of England’s top players, Toby Tree.
“We have become very good friends. Toby is part of England’s elite squad which has come out and played in our top tournaments the last two years,” Bezuidenhout explained. “The fact that I can stay with him made this trip possible. We will travel together to all the tournaments. This is an opportunity that hopefully will take my game to the next level.”
We wish him well on his adventures!
3. EEFF members Rebula and Telfer triumph at Curro World Junior
Top South African juniors and Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation members, Jovan Rebula and Kaleigh Telfer lived up to their star billing as pre-tournament favourites when they both claimed victories at the Curro SA Junior International at Langebaan Country Estate on Thursday 6th March. Congratulations to both golfers on a wonderful performance.
The reigning Nomads SA Boys U-17 champion, Rebula (73, 66, 73 for 212: 4-under par), defeated Altin van der Merwe (67, 72, 74 for 213: 3-under par) by one shot for the boys title, while Telfer (79, 69, 73 for 221: 5-over par) clinched the girls division with a two-shot victory over another EEFF member, Bianca Theron (75, 74, 74 for 223: 7-over par).
The winners of the boys’ and girls’ divisions each received an invitation to play in the German Junior Tournament in August. “I am really looking forward to the trip to Germany,” Rebula said, “It should be a great experience!”
“I really had to work hard for the win,” Telfer explained. “I was only one shot ahead playing the last hole. Luckily my par was good enough to secure a two-shot victory. I am very satisfied with the way I handled the pressure playing the last couple of holes.”
Even though she didn’t get the win, Theron had plenty to smile about: she aced the 140-metre par-three 16th in the second round!
About the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation
The Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation was founded in 1999 with the purpose of identifying and assisting young individuals from families of limited resources who show promise in the game of golf. It serves to provide these individuals with educational assistance and opportunities to play, and in so doing create an environment where not only their playing ability could be developed to its full potential, but they could be encouraged to become successful young leaders. Former members include Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace.