Rising Star

“I’d give it a D,” was the response of former No 1-ranked South African amateur Yurav Premlall, when asked about his rookie season in the pro ranks, where he finished 52nd on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.

“From what I expected of myself to what it turned out being, I think it’s only fair that I give myself some harsh criticism.”

For many, earning almost R600 000 in their first full year on Tour would be a more than encouraging start to a professional career, but Premlall has set himself lofty standards, and missing out on the top-50 of the Order of Merit, and a place at the season-ending Tour Championship, was not part of the plan.

The devil, it seems, is in the details. It’s not as though Premlall has been playing poorly, it’s just that he hasn’t quite cracked on and got himself into contention often enough. Instead, he’s been hovering perilously around the cutline. More often than he would like, he’s ended up falling on the wrong side of it.

“At five out of the co-sanctioned events I missed the cut by a shot,” he explains. “That really stung, because those events can make or break a season.”


Premlall’s top picks.

Premlall’s overall results don’t read too badly: played 26 events, 16 cuts made and three finishes inside the top six. Yet it is the run of five straight missed cuts in the middle of season – while others were cashing in on co-sanctioned euros – that stands out.

“Now that I look back, post season, I realise the impact that those co-sanctioned events made on my season,” he says. “Hypothetically, if I made the cut at four of those events, I’m moving from 52nd into probably the top 20. That’s a massive difference.”

Despite a strong feeling of disappointment with his season, Premlall’s first year as a professional has been solid, yet unspectacular. The 20-year-old finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year race, behind Robin Williams, fellow GolfRSA National Squad graduate Jonathan Brooomhead and Gerhard Pepler.

Coming from being in contention every week on the amateur circuit to fighting the cut as a pro has been a big adjustment for Premlall.

“There were weeks where I played well and I could see that I have the game to do it, but I need to find that consistency over four days,” he says.


Premlall gives a rundown of his Bushveld Tour win at Modderfontein in June 2023.

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Could it be that the leap from amateur to professional golf is bigger than he expected?

“I wouldn’t say it’s that big a leap,” he says. “When I did get invites as an ammie, I played the Sunshine Tour and co-sanctioned events pretty well. I know it sounds simple, but I just haven’t played as well as I know I am capable of this season.

“Being on or around the cutline is not something I was used to and I feel like there is more pressure trying to make the cut than there is to win. Because I know that if I’m in a position to win, I can get that job done.”

Premlall’s professional career got off to a flying start as he joined the Sunshine Tour towards the end of last season. A tie for ninth at the Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt helped him earn a few starts on the Challenge Tour, and the experience of travelling around Europe and Asia as a teen was certainly an eye-opener.

“I timed my decision to turn pro because I received invites into the Challenge Tour events at the beginning of last year,” he says. “I knew that if I played well it would give me a chance to earn my Challenge Tour or DP World Tour card.


A very young Premlall talks about his second-place finish in Scotland.

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 I know what I can achieve. I’ve been doing the right things and I just need to be patient

“It’s disappointing that it didn’t happen, but I know what I can achieve. I’ve been doing the right things and I just need to be patient. Unfortunately I’m not one of the most patient people in the world.”

Premlall knows what he needs to do to kickstart his career.

“A win would solve a lot of problems and would give me that confidence I had as an amateur,” he says.

He doesn’t have to look too far for inspiration, with fellow GolfRSA National Squad players Ryan van Velzen, Luca Filippi, Jonathan Broomhead, Deon Germishuys and Malcolm Mitchell all picking up wins on the Sunshine Tour this season.

“It’s always nice to see the guys you grew up with do well,” Premlall says, “and the fact that I went head to head with them through my amateur journey shows that it’s doable. It’s about building up a run of form and getting myself into contention. If I get myself into position more often, I will get the job done at some point.”

When that time comes, expect Premlall’s report card to look a tad better than a disappointing D.


It all came together for Premlall at the 2021 SA Open.