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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

‘I didn’t dream of this, but it’s cool’ – SA amateur Christo Lamprecht on cloud nine at The Open

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It’s not often a debutant leads a major, much less so when that debutant is an amateur, but for SA’s Christo Lamprecht it was not much of a surprise as he achieved that rare feat in the first round of The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on Thursday.

The 22-year-old amateur fired a five-under 66 to set the early clubhouse lead in golf’s oldest event, and afterwards he said it was more than just a pleasant surprise.

“It’s pretty surreal. It’s nice to see a lot of work behind the scenes pay off. It’s something I haven’t dreamt of yet, but it’s pretty cool,” said Lamprecht.

If Lamprecht were to go on to achieve the miraculous and win the oldest tournament in golf, he would become the fifth South African man to win The Open Championship after Bobby Locke, Gary Player, Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen.

Gaining entry to the oldest tournament in golf courtesy of his victory in the British Amateur Open Championship last month, Lamprecht said he is not surprised to find his name at the top of the leaderboard.

“I mean, as an amateur, yes, it is. But in my own head, no, it’s not [a surprise]. I think I’m very hard on myself, and I think I earned my spot to be here. I think the way I played today I earned to be on the top of the leaderboard, as of now.

“It’s not a cocky thing to say. I just personally think I believe in myself, and I guess stepping on to the first tee box if you’re a professional or a competitor, you should be believing that you should be the best standing there.

“Yeah, I’m very proud of it. I’m a little bit surprised, obviously, naturally, but I played good golf today.”

Lamprecht’s card included seven birdies and two bogeys as he was one of the morning starters in the first round.

One of the many highlights of his round, came at the par four first hole as Lamprecht found the greenside bunker. There he had one of his long legs out the bunker, with the other one in the sand as he was able to extricate himself impressively from the hazard on his way to saving par.

Of his numerous birdies on the day, the most incredible was the one he made on the par four 14th. Attempting to simply make par as he was chipping into the green with his third, Lamprecht struck a perfect running chip which landed a few feet short of the flag before rolling into the hole for another gain.

Lamprecht was paired with former Open champion Oosthuizen in round one, and outscored his golfing idol who signed for a three-over 74 by eight. Playing with Oosthuizen helped Lamprecht massively he explained.

“I think that helped a my score a lot today. I think having someone hat I know very well and is a ginormous mentor for me that I’ve played previously with kind of helped me feel a little bit more at home, and at ease.

“It was kind of a nice draw. I thought they rigged it by some means, but I loved it.”

@Golfhackno1

IOL Sport

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