South Africa’s Christo Lamprecht, a golfing giant at 6 feet 8 inches tall, took his game to new heights when adding the Amateur Championship to his already impressive CV after beating Switzerland’s Ronan Kleu 3&2 in a thrilling final held at Hillside Golf Club in Lancashire.
From an international field of 288 players representing 38 countries, the 22-year-old became the third South African winner in the last six years after Jovan Rebula in 2018 and Aldrich Potgieter last year.
Lamprecht – the highest-ranked player in the field at six of the WAGR – and a prodigious ball striker – squeezed into the top-64 and ties for the match play stages before excelling in the knock-out format.
In the morning action of the 36-hole final, Lamprecht’s opening birdie gave him the advantage. But Kleu, placed 376th in the world rankings, settled down and achieved three birdies in a row from the 6th to go one up. With his precision iron play, the Swiss national team member also birdied the 9th to move two ahead after nine holes.
In a see-saw contest, Kleu bogeyed 10 and 11– with Lamprecht also eagling 11 – as the match returned to all square. Lamprecht, a first team All-American for Georgia Tech with eight top-ten finishes in the 2022-2023 season, then seized control. Aided by his long driving, he birdied five of the last seven holes – including four in a row from the 15th. However, Kleu closed with two birdies of his own to stay in touch at only two down at the halfway stage.
Lamprecht, who was six-under-par for the morning’s 18 holes, had played 21 more match play holes this week than Kleu, but he showed no signs of tiredness to take the first hole of the afternoon round after Kleu’s bogey to go three up.
It stayed that way until the 24th when the Swiss struck it close to reduce the deficit. A brilliant pitch from the dunes from Lamprecht restored his advantage at the 27th. The 2017 South African Amateur winner made another decisive move at the short 28th, holing from 15 feet for back-to-back birdies to go four up.
Kleu missed an opportunity at the par-5 29th, but did capitalise at both 30 and 31 to suddenly reduce the gap to two holes once more. There was then incredible drama at the 32nd hole as the Swiss made a third straight birdie from 25 feet after slicing his drive into rough – but it was a birdie matched by a cool Lamprecht from six feet. His fifth birdie in the afternoon at the 33rd took him to three up and a short par putt at the 34th sealed his triumph.
By virtue of his victory, Lamprecht secured exemptions into next month’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, the US Open, and an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament in 2024.