1st May 2019 | Big Easy IGT Golf
Premlall makes Big Easy IGT history at Observatory
Premlall makes Big Easy IGT history at Observatory
(PHOTO – Yurav Premlall; credit CJ du Plooy)
JOHANNESBURG, 1 May 2019 – Yurav Premlall hit the global headlines last year as the youngest amateur to qualify for and make the cut in the South African Open Championship at Randpark Golf Club and, on Wednesday, the Glendower junior made more golfing history when he became the youngest amateur winner on the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour.
At 15 years, 10 months and 14 days, the GolfRSA National Squad member was composure and confidence personified as he upstaged a field of professionals at Observatory Golf Club with a masterful display to close out a two-shot victory on 12 under.
“It feels so good. It’s hard to find the words. I’m so delighted this victory,” he gushed. “It’s just what I came here to do this week and to deliver on the job feels so good.”
Premlall is the second GolfRSA National Squad player to win on the local golf development circuits this season. In February, another Ekurhuleni junior Casey Jarvis became the youngest IGT Challenge Tour winner at 15 years, seven months and 22 days with his win at State Mines.
Premlall, Jarvis and Christiaan Burke, who finished second on 10 under, will be heading to Ireland with four more members of the squad at the end of May as part of the GolfRSA National Squad annual tour.
The troupe will play the East of Ireland Championship at County Louth Golf Club and the St Andrews Links Championship in Scotland before they travel back to Ireland to for the Amateur Championship.
“This win is a great boost before the GolfRSA National Squad Tour,” said Premlall, who attends BSI Sport Academy at Huddle Park.
“I was really happy with my top four finish in my first Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour event at Centurion two weeks ago and I learned a lot from that tournament. This week the course was incredibly tight and the set-up was tough; it really tested us.
“Christiaan and I both really enjoyed it. We are grateful to GolfRSA for giving us another invitation to play this week to gain more experience and get some more world amateur golf ranking points.”
The teenager began the final round three shots back of joint leaders Coert Groenewald and Gideon van der Vyfer, two former Sunshine Tour campaigners trying to play their way back onto the main circuit via the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour series.
A birdie start and further gains at six, seven and nine saw Premlall take the lead on 10-under.
Burke – five off the pace at the start of the final day – also raced into contention with an eagle-birdie combination at second and third holes and moved within a shot of Premlall with birdies at seven and nine.
Van der Vyfer dropped out of the race, but Groenewald offset four bogeys with an equal number of birdies to share second with the Free State amateur.
Premlall started the back nine with a bogey 10 and dropped another shot at 13, but showing the determination that has taken him to sixth in the SAGA Open Amateur Rankings, he responded with a birdie at par three 15th.
“I hit my tee shot left on 10 onto the next fairway and tried to play a miracle shot,” he said. “I nearly pulled it off, but it caught the bank and rolled down, leaving me with an impossible chip and I couldn’t up-and-down to save par.
“At 13, I hit another wayward tee shot right. The ball hit a bank and bounced even further right and I misjudged the distance and overshot the green. I was behind a tree, so I took my punishment and moved on. At 15, I hit a full sand-wedge and it pitched 20 feet behind the flag and spun back to six foot. I snuck the putt in the right side of the hole.
“There has been lots of tournaments where I made bogey and then I bounced back with a birdie, and this was just one of those moments. That birdie on 15 got me back in the fight. It just confirmed to me that I am playing well, and I just need to keep on doing what I’m doing.”
Burke also let one slip at 13, but rallied with birdies at 15 and 16. He secured the clubhouse lead on 10-under with pars at the two closing holes for a final round 66.
Then Premlall holed out at the par four 17th to spoil Burke’s party.
“I’ve been struggling with that tee shot all week, so I tried to hit driver and hit it out right onto another fairway,” he said. “I had 120 metres to the pin; a perfect gap-wedge. The green is elevated and I didn’t know where if finished, but I knew it was good when the guys starting clapping. I kind of went mad when they signalled us that it went in.
“I took a couple of deep breaths on the 18th tee box and told myself to cut it down the left. I pulled it off and hit a little gap-wedge to four feet and snaked in the putt for 66 and the win.”
Groenewald had back-to-back bogeys at 10 and 11 and doubled the par four 13th, but the seasoned campaigner also bounced back with an eagle at the par five 14th and a birdie pair at 15 and 16. A late bogey at 17 saw the Houghton golfer sign for 73 to finish in third on eight-under.
All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified and amateurs indicated at AMA
204 – Yurav Premlall AMA 71 67 66
206 – Christiaan Burke AMA 72 68 66
208 – Coert Groenewald 68 67 73
209 – Malcolm Mitchell 72 68 69
210 – Werner Deyzel AMA 75 69 66, Desne van den Bergh 73 70 67, Jason Roets 70 69 71
211 – Quintin Wilsnach 70 72 69, Sipho Bujela 68 71 72, Jason Smith 69 68 74
212 – Albert Venter 72 69 71, Thabang Simon 71 69 72, Gareth Sargent 70 68 74, Gideon Van Der Vyver 69 66 77
213 – John McClean (NIR) 71 72 70, Neal Woernhard (SUI) 68 75 70, Divan Marais 69 73 71
214 – Leon Visser 73 71 70, Ruan Groenewald 71 71 72, Clayton Mansfield 69 72 73
215 – Marthin Scheepers 71 72 72
216 – Michael Kok 74 71 71, Karl Ochse 73 71 72, Mitchell Lightfoot 73 71 72, Keaton Slatter 72 72 72, Richard Joubert 75 68 73
217 – Jason Rossiter 75 70 72, Leon Vorster 70 74 73
218 – Jason Viljoen 73 70 75
219 – Jaco Van Der Merwe 73 72 74, Dylan O’Leary 70 75 74
220 – Henning Du Plooy 76 69 75
221 – Maverick Faber (FRA) 70 74 77
222 – Gary Daoust (BEL) 74 71 77, Eric Nel 76 69 77
RTD – Matthew Carvell 70 73 RTD
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour.