6 December 2021 – Yurav Premlall dreamt of winning the Freddie Tait Cup long before he made South African Open Championship history, and on Sunday 5 December at Sun City, the GolfRSA National Squad member achieved his goal.
In 2018, the Glendower amateur made international headlines when – at the age of 15 years and five months – he became the youngest amateur in history to qualify for the SA Open at Randpark Golf Club, and the youngest to make the 36-hole cut.
In his fourth appearance in the national Open, Premlall once again entered the history books when he took centre stage on the iconic island green at the Gary Player Country Club alongside 2021 champion Danie van Tonder.
The 18-year-old bagged the leading amateur prize with rounds of 70, 69, 72 and 75 on a total score of two-under-par 286.
“It took me four tries, and I am over the moon that that I got the job done. I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment. It was something I always wanted to achieve, and this means the world to me,” he said.
It wasn’t the first time that Premlall conquered the challenging championship layout this year. Seven months ago, he went wire-to-wire against the country’s top ranked juniors to lift the inaugural Nedbank Junior Challenge title.
“I guess something about this course brings out the best in me,” he said. “It just suits my game. Coming back here after winning the Nedbank Junior Challenge definitely boosted my confidence.
“To be honest, I almost lost it by getting too aggressive. I wasn’t disciplined and made a terrible start with a double at 11 and bogey at 12. I went back to playing the last nine holes conservatively and not doing anything stupid. Even coming into the final hole, I could have gone for the green, but I chose the safer option.
“To lift the Freddie Tait Cup is very special. Ours is the second oldest Open in golf, and to finish as the leading amateur and to join the list of past winners is something we all aspire to. To join guys like Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace as a winner is a dream come true and I am over the moon that I pulled it through.”
Exempt spots for the 111th edition were awarded to GolfRSA’s five leading available amateurs on the Open Amateur rankings and Premlall once again had to do it the hard way and prequalify for the SA Open, joining Christiaan Maas (1), Kieron van Wyk (2), Casey Jarvis (3), Christiaan Burke (5) and Jordan Duminy (6) at Sun City.
Premlall guaranteed his start by winning the Irene Qualifier alongside fellow GolfRSA National Squad member Werner Deyzel, while yet another squad member, Kyle de Beer, booked his berth with a runner-up finish in the ERPM Qualifier.
Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy member Ivan Verster made it a nine-strong amateur challenge with his win in the Modderfontein Qualifier.
Premlall, Van Wyk, Deyzel and De Beer made it to the weekend and the Freddie Tait Cup winner shared 30th position with former winner Jayden Schaper, European Tour champion George Coetzee, Jean Hugo and squad graduates Luca Filippi and Dylan Naidoo.
Van Wyk, back from his first six months at the College of Charleston and representing South Africa in the Spirit International in November, finished on one-over 289. The CMR golfer tied for 45th squad graduate Malcolm Mitchell, Peter Karmis, David Drysdale, Jacques Kruyswijk and Pieter Moolman.
Woodhill’s Deyzel tied for 51st on two-over 290 and De Beer’s final-round 72 earned the Port Elizabeth golfer a share of 65th on six over with Adilson da Silva from Brazil.
And the 2021 season is not yet over for Premlall.
From 17-22 December he will join last year’s Freddie Tait Cup winner Casey Jarvis in leading Ekurhuleni into their title defence in the South African U-19 Inter-Provincial. “We won our first SA U-19 IPT title at East London Golf Club in 2017 and defended in 2018 at Benoni Country Club. Then we made it a hat-trick in 2019 at Oubaai Golf Club, so there is a lot of pride on the line.” Premlall said.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t have the event last year due to COVID-19 lockdown, so we are very excited to be heading to Kimberley Golf Club for our title defence. Casey and I are the only ones left from the winning team, but we have a bunch of really talented youngsters coming through the ranks, and I think we’ll do well.”