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The 151st Open

Christo Lamprecht


The amateur confounding expectations thanks to a Champion mentor

Christo Lamprecht celebrates a brilliant 66

Maybe we should have guessed that Christo Lamprecht would hit the ground running at The 151st Open when you look at the mentors who gave him tips upon arrival at Royal Liverpool.

Louis Oosthuizen lifted the Claret Jug at St Andrews in 2010, Charl Schwartzel was awarded the Green Jacket the following year and Branden Grace was the first man to shoot 62 in a major – doing so six years ago at The 146th Open just up the road at Royal Birkdale. 

The trio were all happy to pass on knowledge to the Amateur Champion ahead of his Open debut but it was the 2010 Champion Golfer who has had the biggest influence on the 6’ 9” Lamprecht. 

When the two were drawn together in the same group for the opening round at Royal Liverpool, Lamprecht could not have been happier, but even in his wildest dreams, a 66 and the clubhouse lead at mid-afternoon was above and beyond expectations. 

However, with Oosthuizen by his side, Lamprecht had a not-so-secret weapon. 

“I think that helped a lot with my score today,” he explained.  

“I think having someone that 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. 

“Louis was by far the favourite (player growing up). I've kind of grown up, known him personally, and watching him play, it's pretty amazing. 

“I don't think I've ever beaten him. I've played with him probably four or five times, nothing more than that. A couple practice rounds and pro events that I got into as a kid. I guess beating him today was really nice. 

“He's an amazing support and he was supporting me the whole way through. I guess he is unlucky a lot of times, but he was cheering me on and that means a lot.” 

Christo Lamprecht carded five-under-par in his opening round at The 151st Open

While Oosthuizen finished the day three-over, Lamprecht made a flying start, birdieing three of the first six holes. 

With his long levers, his power looks easy, but it was the control that stood out from the South African. 

And even on the odd occasion when he found himself in trouble, Lamprecht was able to produce some magic – notably with a stunning chip for birdie on 14. 

The Georgia Tech student looked unfazed throughout, responding to a bogey on 16 with a birdie on the last to finish five-under. 

And he explained afterwards that the nerves effectively dissipated after a wayward opening tee shot, with self-confidence taking over. 

“I'd probably say the first tee shot was the only bit of nerves I had all day,” he said. “I just kind of walked off the first tee box after hitting my snap hook drive, and my caddie just told me, listen, you're playing The Open as an amateur; no need to stress. We kind of had fun from there. 

“As an amateur, yes, it is (a surprise to see his name top of the leaderboard).  

“But in my own head, no, it's not. I think I'm very hard on myself, and I think I earned my spot to be here. I think the way I played 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. 

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

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