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GOLF

Silver Medal at The Open is the latest hole in one by Christo Lamprecht

Silver Medal at The Open is the latest hole in one by Christo Lamprecht
Christo Lamprecht of South Africa with the Low Amateur Silver Medal at the 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club on 23 July 2023 in Hoylake, England. (Photo: Warren Little / Getty Images)

Reigning amateur champion Christo Lamprecht added to South Africa’s illustrious history in The Open Championship when he became the country’s first Silver Medal winner at the 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake on Sunday.

Setting records and making history is becoming something of a habit for South Africa’s Christo Lamprecht. 

He was just 16 years and 25 days old when became the youngest-ever winner of the South African Amateur Championship at the Humewood Links in 2017 — a record he still owns. 

A year later, he demonstrated maturity beyond his years at County Louth to become the youngest champion and the first foreign winner in the 76-year history of the East of Ireland Amateur Open Championship. 

In 2019, Lamprecht and his fellow GolfRSA National Squad members Martin Vorster, Casey Jarvis and Sam Simpson fired a record-setting 41-under par winning total to win the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup in Japan. 

And in June, it was a career-defining performance at Hillside Golf Club in Southport, England, where he beat Swiss golfer Ronan Kleu 3 & 2 to become the fourth South African to win the Amateur Championship. 

Only 53 golfers have distinguished themselves as the leading amateur in The Open since the Silver Medal was introduced in 1949 and on Sunday the 22-year-old Lamprecht was humbled to follow notables such as José María Olazábal, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. 

“I had a look at the list last night, and it’s really nice to be part of history like that and engrave my name into history,” said Lamprecht, who carded rounds of 66, 79, 76 and 74 at Royal Liverpool to secure the leading amateur honour. 

“Now that everything is done, it is nice to look back and know I’m the last amateur standing. I’m very proud of myself. I didn’t have the best stuff for the last three days and I’ll need to reflect on that, but I have learned a lot of lessons.”  

It’s rare to see a young golfer capitalise on good shots, but also rebound well after poor play. 

That is what set Lamprecht apart from the five other amateurs who teed up at Hoylake, and that’s why golf pundits should keep an eye on the Georgia Tech rising star. 

Lamprecht hit only 23% of the fairways in the 72-hole championship. The George native never stopped trying to compensate for those wayward shots and crowds got an eyeful of the blend of determination and shot-making that took him to the winner’s circle at Hillside Golf Club. 

After dropping just two shots in his opening round, he pencilled eight on his scorecard in round two; his two lone birdies were overshadowed by a trio of bogeys and two double bogeys in round three and he added five more in the final round. 

Yet, despite all the setbacks, his fighting spirit suffered no dents, and an 11-over-par total in his Major debut was good enough to stand him next to The Open winner, American Brian Harman, on the 18th green. 

“Hopefully there are many more to come,” said Lamprecht, the first player to win both the Amateur Championship and the Silver Medal in the same calendar year since Jin Jeong from South Korea in 2010. 

“It has been a week with every bit of emotion felt, coming off a high on Thursday and just not having it the last three days. On Friday afternoon, after I shot 79, I was talking to [2009 Open winner] Stewart Cink. He said he had only led a Major at the end of a round three times. To say I have done it already at 22 is pretty cool. 

“I am very hard on myself, and any good athlete needs to be, to an extent, but I am finishing the week with a smile. This week has given me a lot of motivation to work harder and keep on grinding. I have seen the next level and I really want to get there now.”  

Lamprecht finished the 2022/23 US collegiate season as the seventh-best amateur in the NCAA Division 1. He started the week ranked third in official World Amateur Golf Rankings, equalling the highest mark any South African has achieved since the rankings were introduced in 2007. 

It’s been a year that kept on giving for Lamprecht, and the halfway mark has only just been passed. DM

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