Who is Christo Lamprecht? Here are 5 things to know about the amateur leading The Open
It’s still early at the Open Championship, but there are already some surprises at Hoylake — particularly at the top of the leaderboard.
Those watching stateside (who didn’t set early alarms) woke up Thursday morning to find an unfamiliar name leading the way in Christo Lamprecht.
Lamprecht, 22, fired a five-under 66 in the early wave at Royal Liverpool featuring seven birdies. The South African amateur dropped just two shots in his Open Championship debut as he raced out to the early lead, besting a field of the top-ranked players in the world.
So, who is this amateur leading the Open Championship? Here are five things to know.
He’s an All-American
Lamprecht might hail from South Africa, but he’s still all American — or rather, an All-American. The Georgia Tech Yellowjacket is coming off a junior season in which he was a finalist for the Haskins Award with one win and three runner-ups. He also registered eight top-10s in 11 starts as he was named first-team All-American by the Golf Coaches Association of America.
He’s The Amateur champ
Lamprecht is the reigning champion of The Amateur. The 22-year-old won the 36-hole final 3 and 2 over Ronan Kleu last month to become the third South African to win the event in the last six years.
“I’m over the moon,” Lamprecht said of his accomplishment. “I haven’t won something big in a long time and it’s one to definitely win for sure. I’m ecstatic. I cannot kind of comprehend my feelings right now.”
The win earned Lamprecht a spot in this week’s Open Championship, as well as an invitation to the Masters next spring.
He was a multi-sport athlete
Lamprecht is one heck of a golfer, but in high school, he was also a pretty solid tennis player. He played four years on the tennis team at Outeniqua High School, where he was the top-ranked player on the team. In an alternate universe, it’s fair to wonder if he could’ve been wowing crowds at Wimbledon rather than The Open.
He’s tall (and long)
Lamprecht is one of the largest elite golfers you’ll ever see, standing at a towering 6-foot-8-inches tall. His bio from Georgia Tech estimates he’s the tallest player to ever suit up for the Yellowjackets. He takes advantage of these physical gifts, leveraging his long limbs and tall frame to generate up to 200 mph of ball speed. He averaged 325 yards off the tee in Round 1 of The Open, ranking as one of the longest players in the field.
He’s making history
Tommy Fleetwood is alongside Lamprecht at the top of the leaderboard, but the amateur is still in line to make a little history. As long as no one from the afternoon wave bests his five-under total, Lamprecht will be the first amateur to hold at least a share of the first-round lead at an Open at Royal Liverpool since Bobby Jones in 1930. Not that he’s surprised with his success, though.
“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,” Lamprecht said. “I’m very proud of it.”
And just as a reminder, Jones won that week to complete the second leg of the Grand Slam.