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Wire-to-wire glory for Rebula at Nomads SA Boys

27 Jun 2013

2013 Nomads SA Boys U-17 Championship winner Jovan Rebula with Nomads chairman, Robbie Frank; credit Deon Smit / Immanuel Photography

George golfer Jovan Rebula staved off a spirited final round challenge from Limpopo’s Hennie du Plessis to claim a wire-to-wire victory in the Nomads SA Boys Under-17 Championship at Mount Edgecombe Country Club on Thursday.

The 15-year-old Southern Cape golfer fired a final round three-under-par 68 for a winning score of six-under-par 278 and a one stroke victory over Du Plessis, who fired a closing 66. The victory follows just 11 months after Rebula defeated Kyle McClatchie by three shots for the Nomads SA Boys U-15 Championship title.

Rebula took the lead with an opening 68 and stretched his advantage to six shots with a second round 68. A less impressive third round 74 opened the door for Du Plessis and Ekurhuleni’s McClatchie, but the George golfer was still comfortably in command, going into the final 18 with a three shot cushion.

Although he never surrendered the lead in the final round, the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation player described the final round tussle with the Polokwane player “one of the best battles of my career”.

“Hennie was a fantastic opponent and he really turned the final round into a proper tournament for me,” Rebula said. “I never really felt under pressure this week, but Hennie played exceptional golf. He gave me a really tough time out there and he forced me to stay on my toes, keep my focus and plan my shots. It was a great battle against him.”

Rebula launched his final round with a pair of birdies and added another brace at the seventh and eighth holes. He completed the outward stretch in seven under while Du Plessis, who also went on a birdie spree with three birdied from second and another at the eighth, turned in four under.

With his three shot cushion intact, Rebula added birdie number five at the 12th but after pars at the 13th and 14th, things went a little haywire.

Du Plessis bogeyed 11, but eagled the 13th and began piling on the pressure with an impressive display off the tee. “I still had a three shot cushion when we reached the 15th, but Hennie was striking the ball very well and I could feel the pressure mounting just a little,” Rebula said.

“I pushed my tee shot just a little right and left my second a meter short of the pin. It was raining pretty hard by then and I misread the putt completely and ended up dropping a shot.”

At the par-four 16th, both players found the water off the tee.

“I had to drop in the thick stuff and my second finished short of the green, while Hennie hit his over the pin against the back fringe,” Rebula explained. I chipped to about nine feet, but I left my par putt short and Hennie holed a long, snaking 25-footer for par.”

With his lead cut to just one shot, Rebula responded - as he often does - with a birdie at the next hole.

Fairway, green and a two-foot putt for birdie put him back in command.

“I told myself that I can’t control what Hennie does, only what I do,” the youngster said. “I decided to stick to the game plan, no matter the outcome, and hopefully give myself some breathing room.”

At the final hole, both players mailed their tee shots down the fairway at 18.

“The pin was tucked back left and water surounds the back left side of the green, so I went with the conservative option,” Rebula said. “I hit it a little thick, though, and caught the front edge of the green, so I was left with a 25-footer.

“Hennie had a long birdie putt that just snuck past the hole, so I knew I had two putts to win and I just lagged it close. I don’t mind winning with a bogey. It’s the victory that counts.”

McClatchie came home in 71 strokes to finish in third on even-par 284, while Gauteng North’s Tristen Strydom took fourth on two over 286 after closing out with a two under 69.

Click HERE for final results

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