Ernie Els' nephew Jovan Rebula, 20, makes his Open debut at Carnoustie
Els' Nephew Jovan Rebula Makes Open Debut
Even at 48, two-time Open champion Ernie Els is a name you look for every year when the Open Championship comes around - but now there's another family member to make the headlines, after nephew Jovan Rebula made his debut in golf's oldest Major on Thursday.
Last month Rebula, 20, became the first South African to win The British Amateur since Bobby Cole in 1966, after defeating Ireland's Robin Dawson 3&2 over 36 holes at Royal Aberdeen, made all the more impressive as he went into the tournament ranked 192nd on the amateur world rankings.
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That historic victory guaranteed the young Springbok a place at Carnoustie, and we'll being seeing more of him with invites to the 2019 US Masters and US Open secured.
After his British Amateur victory, Rebula said of Els: “We have a very tight relationship. He’s always motivating me. He just said go out and have some fun and grab the opportunity with both hands.
"You’ve got this opportunity only once and it will open doors for you. He’s awesome. Just a great human being.”
Els is also in the field this week looking to add to his four Major Championship victories, the last of which was a Claret Jug in 2012.
Rebula, who attends Auburn University in Alabama, began his Open Championship career with back-to-back bogeys, before steading the ship with a run of pars.
However, he closed his front nine with a double before leaking further shots at the 12th, 14th, 15th. Another double followed at 17, before he carded his sole birdie on the tough 18th.
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Whatever happens this week, he'll have his mother's brother to lean on throughout his career.
Meanwhile, Els also opened with a bogey and was unable to find a birdie, eventually closing with a two-over 73, following one more dropped shot on the 252-yard par-3 16th.
It's not be the first time the pair have competed at the same tournament, with Rebula also teeing it up in the last two South African Opens.
However, he'll remember this week for the rest of his life, especially if he can make the cut and be around to compete on Sunday, the day of his 21st birthday.
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Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.
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