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Amateurs

British Open 2023: How this amateur has learned more from shooting 79 and 76 than 66 at Royal Liverpool

July 22, 2023
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Jared C. Tilton

HOYLAKE, England — The six-strong starting line-up of amateur golfers down to a single player, Christo Lamprecht is the only one of the 76 overall golfers still standing at Royal Liverpool who is not playing for cash over the weekend at the 151st Open Championship. Appropriately, the 6-foot-8 giant did it his own way in getting to this stage of his first major start. After opening with a five-under 66 to tie for the first-round lead, the 22-year-old stumbled to an eight-over 79 amid the winds during the second round. In the end, he scraped into the weekend “on the (145) number.”

“There was a little bit of relief on Friday evening when I knew I had made it,” said Lamprecht, who two weeks from now will enter his senior year at Georgia Tech. “I thought I had to make par or birdie on the 18th to get through but I made a bogey. So at first I thought I had missed. I got lucky though. Now I have the official presentation to look forward to tomorrow evening. That’s a nice silver (medal) lining. Hopefully I can go up there after a good round and finish the week off strong.”

To that end, Saturday brought with it fresh conditions in the shape of a softer course after overnight rain that stretched into the morning. So it was perhaps not surprising that Lamprecht, who played his way into the field here by winning the British Amateur Championship at nearby Hillside last month, came up with another number by yet another route. Four dropped shots outnumbered his two birdies over the first 17 holes, before a disappointing double-bogey 7 at the par-5 18th ended his day. It added up to a five-over 76 that has the South African eight over and in last place.

“I’ve really not had my best stuff the last two days,” Lamprecht said. “If you’re not precise with what you’re doing out there you are going to get penalized hard. So I’ve had my butt handed to me over the last 36-holes. All in all though, I still have to be pleased that I made the cut. As an amateur playing in my first major, playing on the weekend is an achievement in itself. I’m trying to keep that in mind, although I’m obviously a little gutted at the way things have gone over the last two rounds.”

Still, there is already much to be positive about and even more to consider over the coming months. As he was quick to admit, Lamprecht has much to learn about golf at the highest level, but this week has seen him gain much encouragement amidst the frustrations of the last two days.

“It was pretty amazing to know no one beat me on Thursday,” he said. “That’s my No. 1 takeaway from the week. I know now that my best golf is definitely good enough to compete out here. It’s up there with the best in the world. I guess now I just have to find a way to make that more consistent. I need to play my best golf more often. I haven’t been myself tee-to-green the last two days. I’ve been all over the place, struggling to make pars. But it’s nice to know I’m within reaching distance.

“It’s human to feel more pressure, which I did after the first round,” he continued. “There was a lot of media. And that was different, even though I don’t feel like I approached anything differently. I tried to think of the second day as just another round of golf in which I wanted to play well. I certainly wasn’t worried about leading or anything.”

While that planning all made sense, Lamprecht’s execution of those aims ultimately let him down.

“I made a mental mistake when I pushed too hard out of the gate in the second round,” he said. “Yesterday afternoon I should have known pars were good and played accordingly. I got a little too aggressive from the get-go and hit some bad tee-shots, which put me on the back foot. But I will learn from that. As an amateur in a major, I have to take things away from this. It’s not worth playing otherwise. This has been a learning experience for me. If I learn nothing, I’ve achieved nothing. And you learn more from mistakes, the hard way.”

Moving forward, Lamprecht has one more circuit of the Hoylake links to complete, before he marches up to receive the silver medal awarded to the leading amateur in the Open Championship. Then, after those two weeks at home, it is back to the States and the relative peace and quiet of the college circuit.

“Being a bit better known after this doesn’t faze me to be honest,” he said. “I can handle any expectations. My next college event will just be another golf tournament, one I won’t be approaching any different from this one. I’m looking forward to it all.”

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Is it the British Open or the Open Championship? The name of the final men’s major of the golf season is a subject of continued discussion. The event’s official name, as explained in this op-ed by former R&A chairman Ian Pattinson, is the Open Championship. But since many United States golf fans continue to refer to it as the British Open, and search news around the event accordingly, Golf Digest continues to utilize both names in its coverage.

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