Ireland’s Robin Dawson (Tramore) will face Jovan Rebula in the final of The 123rd Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen on Saturday.
Dawson came through his semi-final match with countryman Conor Purcell after recording a 3&2 win. Taking the first hole of the semi-final, the 22-year-old never looked back as Purcell failed to recapture the form that saw him defeat top ranked Australian David Micheluzzi in the morning.
Dawson, who won the Flogas Irish Open Amateur Championship at Royal County Down in May, showed maturity and patience to book his spot in Saturday’s 36-hole final and the R&A Foundation Scholar made himself difficult to beat boasting a bogey-free card.
Despite Purcell’s attempts to impose himself on the match, pulling a hole back at the par-3 8th to cut Dawson’s lead to 2 holes after he went 3up at the 6th, Dawson’s victory was never in doubt. The GB&I St Andrews Trophy squad member was made to wait however when Purcell produced an excellent birdie at the 14th.
But Dawson, ranked 35th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, held his resolve and completed his victory over Purcell at the 16th.
“It feels good, I’m somewhat relieved to make it this far and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m a bit tired now so it’ll be good to get a good sleep tonight and get set for tomorrow,” said Dawson.
“Today was great but it wasn’t easy (playing against fellow countrymen). They are both good friends of mine from being in Ireland teams in the past but we had a couple of good friendly matches out there today. It was nice. He’s (Conor Purcell) had a great week, beat some tough players as well like David Micheluzzi, who is number 19 in the world. He’s had a great week so he should be happy with himself.”
“I’ve known him (Jovan Rebula) for a couple of years now from going down to play in tournaments in South Africa so it’ll be nice. It should be a good game tomorrow. To get the chance to play in one major, never mind three, is great. I would love that opportunity but there is still a lot of golf to play tomorrow.”
Rebula was never behind in his semi-final as he eliminated England’s Mitch Waite with a convincing 6&4 victory. The 20-year-old, who is the nephew of two-time Champion Golfer of the Year Ernie Els, is the first South African to reach the final since Zander Lombard, who lost out Bradley Neil at Royal Portrush in 2014.
Rebula, who plays collegiate golf in Alabama, moved in front at the 2nd hole after Waite conceded. He continued to build on his lead and found himself 5up at the turn. The Englishman, who struggled throughout, pulled one hole back with a birdie at the 11thbut the prospect of a comeback was dealt a swift and sudden blow when Rebula recorded a birdie of his own on the par-5 12th.
The 192nd world ranked golfer closed out the match at the 14th in clinical style with the perfect approach shot to secure victory and progress through to the final, where he will attempt to become the first South African to lift the historic trophy since Bobby Cole at Carnoustie in 1966.
In the morning quarter-finals, Rebula saw off the challenge of England’s Tom Sloman 2&1 and Dawson booked his semi-final berth coming through another all-Irish tie with recently crowned St Andrews Links Trophy champion John Murphy, also 2&1.
The winner of The Amateur 123rd Championship receives an exemption into The 147th Open at Carnoustie, the 2019 US Open and, by tradition, an invitation to the 2019 Masters Tournament.
The 36-hole final gets underway tomorrow at Royal Aberdeen at 8.30am. For scoring and updates visit www.Randa.org.