Jovan Rebula, nephew of four-time major winner Ernie Els, completed the perfect week to claim The 123rd Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen.
The 20-year-old was never behind in the 36-hole final and becomes the first South African to lift the historic trophy since Bobby Cole at Carnoustie in 1966 after defeating Ireland’s Robin Dawson 3&2.
“It’s unreal,” said Rebula, who was ranked No.192 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking prior to the championship. “Winning golf tournaments is what all of us dream of and being able to stand here having a trophy on the side – it’s just what we play and work for. I am thankful to be standing here right now.
“I had my friend Matt on the bag and he was unbelievable for me. He’s been the foundation to me, keeping me calm, and we just had an awesome time out there. It was so much fun.
“Being able to etch my name into history is an unbelievable feeling and I’m obviously very chuffed about what happened.”
As well as uncle Ernie, nine-time major winner and compatriot Gary Player offered his congratulations to Rebula on social media, saying: “I am so proud of you @JovanRebula. Congratulations on your super victory at The Amateur Championship @RandA and as the first South African to do so in 52 years! I look forward to shaking your at Carnoustie during @TheOpen.”
Els added: “You legend for winning The Amateur Championship. First time since 1966 an SA player has won. My man!”
As well as getting his hands on the coveted piece of silverware, Rebula also secured a place in The Open at Carnoustie, next year’s US Open at Pebble Beach and an invitation to the 2019 Masters.