Christo Lamprecht has become the first South African since the inception of the World Amateur Golf Ranking in January 1997 to reach the number one spot on the world list.
The lanky Lamprecht, already on the crest of a wave after he became just the third South African to win the Amateur Championship in England in July, ascended to the summit of world amateur golf after a one-shot victory on Sunday in the OFCC Fighting Illini Invitational at Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois.
Georgia Tech’s Lamprecht led the field with rounds of 65 and 66 and triumphed on nine-under after the final round was cancelled because of poor weather. This marked Lamprecht’s second individual title on the US collegiate circuit. He replaced American Gordon Sargent at the top.
The GolfRSA National Squad member has now climbed higher on the list than the previous two best ranked South Africans, Cameron Johnston and Nicol van Wyk, did before him. They both reached third in the rankings.
It continues a year of history-making moments for Lamprecht, who took the Amateur Championship title when he secured a 3 and 2 victory over Rohan Kleu from Switzerland in the 36-hole final at Hillside Golf Club.
The Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy graduate followed that by a performance which saw him become the first-ever South African amateur to win the Silver Medal in the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Lamprecht, who has played for Georgia Tech University in Georgia, Atlanta, since his enrolment there in 2020, reached number three on the rankings after his Open Championship performance, and he climbed to number two – also the highest ranking up until that point by a South African – two weeks ago.
His ascension to the top amateur spot puts him in the company of players like former world number one professionals Jordan Spieth of the United States and Jon Rahm of Spain. Major champions Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick of England, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan and Collin Morikawa of the United States have all also held the number one position in the amateur rankings.
Lamprecht, who ranks second in the pre-season PGA Tour University ranking of the top eligible seniors in the United States, was also named to the 2024 Fred Haskins Award list this September.
Fred Haskins Award
This prestigious award recognises the most outstanding male NCAA Division 1 college golfer, and should he be successful, Lamprecht will join four former Georgia Tech golfers who have won the Fred Haskins Award, including David Duval (1993), Stewart Cink (1995), Matt Kuchar (1998) and Bryce Molder (2001).
The South African, who was also named a pre-season first-team All-American by Golf Channel and Golfweek magazine, was a Haskins Award finalist last year following an outstanding 2022 | 2023 college season with Georgia Tech.
He won the Inverness Intercollegiate, racked up runner-up finishes in the Watersound Invitational, the Linger Longer Invitational and The Goodwin, and was selected to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team for the second straight year.
Lamprecht led the Yellow Jackets to victory in the 19th ACC Championship, the title at the NCAA Salem Regional and a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championship. He was the team’s highest finisher in six of 12 strokeplay events. The George native was also named first-team All-American by the Golf Coaches Association of America and Golfweek magazine.