Georgia Tech’s Christo Lamprecht captures 128th Amateur Championship, earns exemption into 151st Open Championship

Golf can be a tricky game.

Not even a month ago, Georgia Tech’s Christo Lamprecht was struggling during the NCAA Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. Before his match play final against Florida’s Yuxin Lin, Lamprecht pounded balls on the range, but after nearly every swing he dropped his head and shoulders. He couldn’t figure out his swing, and ended up losing.

Fast forward a month, Lamprecht, the South African who will be a senior this fall, has secured one of the biggest amateur titles in the world. He captured the 128th Amateur Championship at Hillside Golf Club in Southport, England, beating Iowa’s Ronan Kleu 3 and 2 in the 36-hole final Saturday. He’s the second straight South African to win the cup, following in Aldrich Potgeiter’s steps from last year, and third in six years.

And for the second straight year, Christiaan Maas, an incoming sophomore at Texas, was on the bag for the winner.

2023 The Amateur Championship
2023 The Amateur Championship

Christo Lamprecht of South Africa holds the trophy with his caddie Christiaan Maas following his victory during the Final of Match Play on Day Four of The Amateur Championship at Hillside Golf Club on June 24, 2023 in Southport, United Kingdom. (Photo by Octavio Passos/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Standing at 6-foot-8, Lamprecht, 22, had some big moments Friday just to get into the Amateur Championship final. In his semifinal match, he was 2 down with three to play against England’s Frank Kennedy and won the final three holes to advance, including a pivotal eagle on the 17th.

The match was square after 14 holes, but Lamprecht birdied his final four holes of the morning wave, winning two of them, to take a 2-up lead into the break. He was 4 up with seven to play before Kleu won consecutive holes to make it a 2-up lead with five to play.

Then, Lamprecht nearly holed his pitch shot from the fairway on the par-4 15th and had a tap-in birdie. Kleu was unable to match him, and both made par on the par-3 16th to give Lamprecht, ranked sixth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, the title.

Lamprecht’s victory is also monumental for other reasons, including his exemptions into majors. He’ll be in the field next month for the 151st Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, and he also has a spot in the 2024 Masters and U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

Kleu, 23, was only the second player from Switzerland to ever advance to the Amateur Championship final. Twenty years ago at Royal Troon, Raphael De Souza advanced to the final before falling to Gary Wolstenholme of England.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek