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Auburn golfer Jovan Rebula achieves 'big goal,' plays for Eisenhower Trophy
Auburn freshman Jovan Rebula is in Mexico this week, competing for South Africa in the World Amateur Team Championships.
Sept. 19, 2016

By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala. - It's not uncommon for college students to take a trip to some exotic place like Cancun at some point.

Most of them, however, spend more than a month on campus before packing their bags.

Freshman golfer Jovan Rebula is not your typical college student, and this is not your typical vacation.

Rebula will compete for South Africa in the World Amateur Team Championships Wednesday through Saturday in Riviera Maya, Mexico, 50 miles south of Cancun.

"This is ultimately one of my big goals, to make this team," Rebula said. "Getting a lot of exposure to the rest of the world. You're going to compete against all of the best guys of each country."

Rebula will captain Team South Africa, one of 72 teams competing for the Eisenhower Trophy.

As a junior golfer, Rebula began aiming for one of the three spots on South Africa's team.

"Everyone was talking about this event that you've got to go play," he said. "To achieve this goal is absolutely such a huge confidence booster for me. To play in this event is going to be big for me as well. A lot of hard work was put into this event."

In his Auburn debut, Rebula finished tied for 25th at a tournament in Dalton, Georgia.

"Those guys can play golf," Rebula said of his first collegiate event, adding that "there's not a big difference between American and international golf."

Notable golfers who have competed in the World Amateur Team Championships include Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, and Rory McIlroy.

"To get that international exposure is going to be huge for me," he said. "You're playing obviously against the best guys. The fact that you're playing against people from around the world makes it a little bit different mentally. I'm going to go out there and take all of the experience I can out of this event."

Rebula believes playing for the Eisenhower will only help him when he rejoins the Tigers.



"It's all a learning curve," he said. "These next couple years that I'm going to be here. I'm very much looking forward to learning as much as I can.

"This facility we have here at Auburn is just amazing," he said. "I can't think of a better place to prepare my game for this event. Hard work is going to be put into it. I've done all of my preparation, all I can do now is just go out and enjoy it."

After traveling more than 8,000 miles from home to come to Auburn, Rebula is starting to settle in, after a couple adjustments.

"You come in, everything's so formal and professional, which is good," he said. "It's a different lifestyle around here. Down in South Africa, we live a little more of a slower lifestyle. So coming around here, everything happens so quickly, it's a little bit of a change.

"The biggest change at the moment is definitely the climate, because man, this place is hot. This place is very, very hot. It's a different kind of heat around here. Something to get used to. That's something I'm trying to adapt to still. I'm getting the hang of it."

He's also getting the hang of American football, something Rebula experienced for the first time when Auburn played Clemson.

"The team spirit was so good, and the whole atmosphere in the football stadium was just crazy, something I've never experienced in my life before," Rebula said. "That was very, very cool."

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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