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11th October 2023

Premlall primed for success in Blue Label Challenge

SUN CITY, North West – It was an eventful and remarkable day for Yurav Premlall on Wednesday as he flew back from the UK, landing in Johannesburg at 3am, driving immediately to Sun City, sleeping in his car and then getting up to play the first round of the Blue Label Challenge, finishing his round with an eagle on the last hole at the Lost City Golf Course to soar to the top of the leaderboard.

Under the modified scoring system used for the tournament, an eagle is worth five points and Premlall’s tremendous finish saw him leap to a tally of 16 points, two ahead of Callum Mowat, who had led for most of the day, and Luca Filippi.

Premlall was playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, which only finished on Monday due to the weekend being washed out, and the 20-year-old acquitted himself well with rounds of 73, 76 and 70 on the famous St Andrew’s, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns courses used.

To then head out on to the Lost City course and pick up six birdies and the eagle, with just one dropped shot, after all the travel and lack of sleep, was a fine effort by Premlall.

“I didn’t play my best in the Alfred Dunhill Links, but it was a great experience and I’m just so grateful to Mr Johann Rupert, who invites a lot of guys, for the opportunity to play,” Premlall said. “Things didn’t all go according to plan with the tournament because of all the bad weather, but I drove straight through this morning, had a nap in the car and then hit the ball great off the tee the whole day.

“On the three par-fives before the 18th I had given myself pretty good chances as well but failed to convert. But then I hit a brilliant second to six feet on the last and got the eagle.

“There’s a lot of risk and reward in this format, but I just took it one shot at a time and played like I normally do in any tournament. But I am probably always a bit more aggressive than most anyway,” Premlall said.

Having thankfully (given his travel schedule) teed off at 11.29am on Wednesday, Premlall will now move to the Gary Player Country Club and tee off at 7.30am on the 10th tee on Thursday.

The magnetic appeal of the Gary Player Country Club course has made Premlall a fan and he won the inaugural Nedbank Junior Challenge there in 2021, the same year he won the Freddie Tait Cup for the leading amateur after finishing tied-30th in the South African Open when it was played at Sun City.

“I’m a lot more fond of the Gary Player Country Club because I have some good memories around there. I hadn’t played Lost City for a long time and with me being on a plane, my caddy walked the course so I knew where to hit the ball and fortunately I hit it really well today,” Premlall said.

Mowat and Filippi both also eagled the 485-metre 18th at the Lost City, with Mowat dropping three points on the previous hole after a double-bogey.

Lyle Rowe was the leading golfer on the Gary Player Country Club course on Wednesday, collecting 13 points to sit in fourth place overall, one point ahead of Jake Redman, who also played the older course.