The reigning Amateur Champion added to South Africa’s illustrious history in The Open Championship when he became the country’s first Silver Medal winner in the 151st edition
Setting records and making history is becoming something of a habit for Christo Lamprecht. He was just 16 years and 25 days old when became the youngest winner of the South African Amateur Championship at Humewood Links in 2017 – a record he still owns.
A year later he demonstrated maturity beyond his years at County Lowth 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. This year it was the career-defining performance at Hillside Golf Club 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 the 22-year-old Lamprecht was humbled to follow notables like José María Olazábal, Sir Michael Bonnalack, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
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.
“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 other five amateurs who teed it 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, but 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 Champion Golfer, American Brian Harman, on the 18th green.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Christo Lamprecht gives us some insights on his performance and lessons learned in his Major debut at Royal Liverpool (courtesy of The R&A).
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
“Hopefully there are many more to come,” said Lamprecht, the first player to win The Amateur and the Silver Medal in the same calendar year since Italy’s Matteo Manassero in 2009 and 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 Stewart Cink. He said he had only led a Major at the end of a round three times. To say I have done 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.”
Amateur champion. Silver Medal winner at The Open.
He finished the 2022-2023 US collegiate season as the seventh-best amateur in the NCAA Division 1 and he started the week ranked third in the official World Amateur Golf Rankings, equalling the highest mark any South African has hit since the rankings were introduced in 2007.
It’s been a year that kept on giving for Lamprecht, and we have only just passed the halfway mark.
WHAT’S IN HIS BAG
Christo Lamprecht stands tall at 6ft 8in (the tallest golfer to compete in The Open), which can make club fitting a bit challenging. During The Open he said he went through three sets of clubs in an 18-month period between the ages of 14 and 15 because of multiple growth spurts, adding half an inch to his clubs each time.
Because of a rule that went into effect on 1 January 2022, his driver is limited to 46 inches in length. All his irons, except his 3-iron, are 1.5 inches longer than standard and he uses a 43-inch arm-lock putter. Lamprecht also travels with two lob-wedges, one with 6deg of bounce and the other with 10. He usually uses the 6-degree club on firm courses like Britain’s links but opted for the 10-degree option at Royal Liverpool.
Driver: Ping G430 LST (9deg)
3-wood: Titleist TS2 (15deg)
3-iron: Ping i230
Irons: Ping Blueprint (4-PW)
Wedges: Ping GFP (50, 54 and 60 degrees)
Putter: Ping 2021 Harwood Armlock
Ball: Titleist ProV1
Christo Lamprecht’s winner’s speech after The Amateur Championship.
Credits: Stuart Kerr / Charlie Crowhurst / Oisin Keniry / Stuart Franklin / R&A / R&A via Getty Images