THE FLATS – Christo Lamprecht joined two Georgia Tech golf legends Saturday by capturing the 128th Amateur Championship at Hillside Golf Club in Southport, England. The rising Tech senior overcame an early two-hole deficit to take the lead by the end of 18 holes in the 36-hole final, and defeated Switzerland’s Ronan Kleu, 3&2.
The 22-year-old Lamprecht, who at No. 6 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking was the highest-ranked player in the field this week, becomes the third Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket to win The Amateur Championship. Bobby Jones captured The Amateur as part of his 1930 Grand Slam at the Old Course at St. Andrews, and his contemporary Charlie Yates came along and won the championship in 1938 at Royal Troon in Scotland.
He is also the third South African to win The Amateur title in the last six years, and the title is the most significant for a Yellow Jacket golfer since Andy Ogletree and Tyler Strafaci won the U.S. Amateur Championship back-to-back in 2019 and 2020.
With the victory come invitations to the 151st Open Championship, July 20-23 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, as well the U.S. Open and, traditionally, to the Masters in 2023.
“Yeah, it’s tough to even think about it,” said Lamprecht after the championship match. “I’m just ready to go home for a little bit and spend some time with family and friends to be really honest with you. So yeah, I’m going to worry about that in three weeks’ time.
“It’s amazing. It’s probably the biggest kind of milestone I’ve put myself up for this year before I turn pro hopefully is just to get myself in a major and get that experience. To get into three is pretty amazing, I’m not going to lie.
Down two after nine holes in the final, Lamprecht battled back to all square by the 14th hole, then reeled off four straight birdies to lead by two holes after the first 18. He gained another hole with a par at the first hole of the second 18, then went up four holes after back-to-back birdies at 9 and 10. Kleu rallied to slice the deficit to two holes with birdies at 12 and 13.
After both players halved the 14th hole, Lamprecht made eagle at the par-4 15th to go back ahead three holes with three to play, then halved the 16th to close out the match.
“I think we went back-and-forth quite a bit for a long time and I kind of felt there in the second round, at holes 10, 11, I kind of got myself into a position where I felt really comfortable,” said Lamprecht. “He gave me a really good go at the end, a lot of birdies coming in, and I just playdc really solid golf and I’m proud of that.”
It was a stirring run for the 6-foot-8 Yellow Jacket, who barely made it into the field for match play after tying for 62nd place in the 36-hole stroke-play qualifier, posting rounds of 70-71 for a 2-under-par total of 141. He then had to go 19 holes to defeat Jack Ingham of the Netherlands, in his preliminary round match.
Lamprecht then proceeded to defeat American George Duangmanee in the round of 64, and Mats Ege of Norway in the round of 32, each by identical 3&2 scores. He edged Sweden’s Adam Wallin, 2&1, to reach the quarterfinals.
Lamprecht’s powerful driving proved the difference against Estonian Richard Teder in his quarterfinal match Friday morning. The South African took out driver at every opportunity. He hooked his ball out of bounds at the second to fall one down but produced four birdies in the next six holes to turn the match around. Teder, 18, made bogey at the par-3 10th and two further birdies from Lamprecht at the 12th and 13th closed out a 6&5 win.
Lamprecht reached the final by winning the last three holes – helped by an eagle at the 17th – for a dramatic one-hole semi-final success against English teenager Frank Kennedy in the semifinal in Friday afternoon.
“Today was unbelievable,” said Christian Maas, Lamprecht’s caddie and a fellow South African who plays at the University of Texas. “It was a long day, long week. He came from what he had to play in the match play preliminary round to get into the 64.
“So it was four days of 36 holes now, so that’s the longest way you can get, birdieing the 18th hole in the qualifying to get into the match play. He played unbelievable golf after the qualifier.”