Taylors go head-to-head at Sanlam SA Amateur

It’s never easy to compete against your sibling. Just ask formula 1 drivers Michael and Ralf Schumacher. Boxers Leon and Michael Spinks. Or tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams.

If you want to reach the top, you just have to grin it and bear it, but it can get even tougher when the man you’re up against, is your mirror image.

The Taylor brothers from Harrismith usually pose a lethal combination when they combine for the same side, like when they played for Hilton’s first team cricket or the U-19 KZN hockey team. Having chosen a career in golf, the 23-year-olds both play out of Country Club Johannesburg, both represent Central Gauteng and, on Monday, both qualified for the match play stage.

However, a cruel twist of fate set Louis and Eddie on a collision course on the same side of the draw. A meeting in the third round of the country’s most prestigious amateur event was inevitable.

The identical twins are clear about the objective when they step onto the golf course, especially when the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship title is on the cards.

“It’s every man for himself,” said Louis. “Definitely,” responded Eddie, “no holds barred, no punches pulled. In this game, it’s inevitable, so we are cool about it.”

And so it played out.

On Tuesday, Louis holed a 60-footer to dispatched SA number one and tournament favourite Haydn Porteous at the 18th hole. Eddie, meanwhile, also cruised into the second round after eliminating Scotland’s Adam Dunton at the 19th hole.

While Louis took care of business with a brisk 6&4 result over Ruan Botha this morning, Eddie wasted little time to send James du Preez packing with a 4&2 victory.

“That means only one of us has the chance to go all the way,” said Eddie, to which Louis replied: “Neither of us have won a national amateur title yet, and we really both want to win this title. We’ll have a nice lunch together, but then it’s game on.”

It is also game on for Jovan Rebula, who beat Potchefstroom’s Aubrey Beckley 3&2 and will face good friend and practice partner Andrew Light in the final 16.

Rebula was four-up through six holes after birdies at the first, third, fifth and six, but two bad holes before the turn saw his advantage cut to two.

“I made a silly drop at the eighth,” he explained. “At the ninth, I missed a six-foot putt and missed the return, so that three-putt cost me another shot.”

Rebula said his grandfather, Neels Els, got him back on track at the 10th tee. “He told me the darkness is behind you and the light in front of you, so look ahead to the next nine holes.”

Both players bogeyed the 11th, but Rebula got his nose in front again with back-to-back birdies at the par-fives (12 and 13) and sealed the victory with a clutch putt at the 16th hole.

“It’s going to be tough playing Andrew, because we are good friends and we often practice together,” the 15-year-old said. “But we are both here for one reason, so I’ll go out there and do my best to book my spot for the quarter-finals.”

Meanwhile former professional Gerlou Roux needed 26 holes before he could cut the Scottish delegation to just two by knocking out Glenbervie’s Graeme Robertson.

“That was one of the toughest battles I’ve ever had in my career,” said the Western Province amateur. “That was just brutal. I hope I have enough left in the tank to take on Zander Lombard, because that match will be another duzi.”

Lombard ,the country’s number two ranked amateur, strengthened his title bid with a decisive 6&5 result over Royal Durban’s Bryce Bibby. The Pretoria golfer made two birdies and an eagle on the front nine and galloped to victory with three successive birdies from the 11th.

England’s Toby Tree, Scotsmen Frazer McKenna and Ewan Scott and 15-year-old Thriston Lawrence from Mpumalanga were among the other players to make the top 16.

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