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It’s been a whirlwind month for Christo Lamprecht.
Just four weeks after winning the Amateur Championship to book a major debut at The Open, the six-foot-eight South African flew out the blocks to set the early pace at Royal Liverpool.
Lamprecht’s day may have taken a different route when he snap hooked his drive off the opening tee – “The first shot was the only bit of nerves I had all day” – before a talking to from his caddie settled the nerves.
“He just told me, ‘Listen, you’re playing The Open as an amateur, [there’s] no need to stress.’ We had fun from there.”
They were certainly having fun on the third when he obliterated his drive over Hoylake’s internal out of bounds that protects the right-hand side of the fairway before getting up and down for the first of three front-nine birdies.
It was a bit more of a rollercoaster for the 22-year-old after the turn. But two back-nine bogeys were offset by four birdies – including a delicious chip-in at 14 – and it was enough for a 66.
What a shot. What a day for Christo Lamprecht. pic.twitter.com/RdWODgk8Dl
— The Open (@TheOpen) July 20, 2023
It was the second lowest opening round by an amateur in the history of The Open. Tom Lewis’s record of 65 at Royal St George’s in 2011 remains.
Lamprecht, however, can console himself with the news that he is the first amateur to card a score in the 60s in 12-and-a-quarter Open Championships at Royal Liverpool.
“It’s pretty surreal,” he told reporters. “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.”
But is it a surprise?
“As an amateur, yes, it is,” he said. “But in my own head, no, it’s not.
“I’m very hard on myself, and 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 believe in myself, and stepping on to the first tee box you should be believing that you should be the best standing there.
“I’m very proud of it.”
And to think Lamprecht almost wasn’t here. During the semi-final of the Amateur Championship – which was held just a few miles round the Mersey coast at Southport & Ainsdale – he was two down with three to play before a par-eagle-par finish was enough to snatch a place in the final from English opponent Frank Kennedy.
Lamprecht went on to ease past Switzerland’s Ronan Kleu 3&2 in the final – a result that earned him not only a spot at Hoylake, but at next year’s Masters and US Open too. (Provided he retains his amateur status until then, of course.)
To go on and become the 151st Champion Golfer of the Year may be a tall order for Lamprecht, but he’s laid an early claim to the Silver Medal.
5 things you didn’t know about Christo Lamprecht
1. Despite being six-foot-eight, his shoe size is a UK 12. “It’s nothing out of the ordinary,” he says. “I know there are a lot of bigger feet in America,” he adds, somewhat bizarrely.
2. His parents were also tall. “My dad is six-foot-four and he’s the shortest of the last five generations. My grandfather was like six-foot-eight, and great grandfather like seven-foot. It runs in the family.”
3. He once played in a pairing where he wasn’t the tallest player. “Tommy Morrison, a freshman at Texas, is six-foot-ten. I looked up to him and he’s like, ‘Hey big guy!’ It caught me off guard a little bit.”
4. He hits his driver a long way. “I stock out at about 325,” he says. “I can get it to carry 340 but I don’t want to – not in links golf.”
5. His idol is 2010 Open champion and fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen. “I’ve grown up knowing him personally and watching him play. It’s pretty amazing. Besides that, Rory McIlroy. I very much love the way he plays the game.”
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