Christo Lamprecht showed some serious big-match temperament to come up trumps in the 2018 Dimension Data Junior Open at Kingswood Golf Estate on Friday.
The Southern Cape junior became the first player to lift the same title twice when he defeated fellow GolfRSA National Squad player Martin Vorster by one shot on 13 under.
The victory also marked a fourth trophy finish for Lamprecht on the Sunshine Tour Junior Series. He won the Dimension Data Junior Open at Fancourt in 2016 and enjoyed double success in 2017 with victories in the Lion of Africa Open and Joburg Junior Open.
Lamprecht and Vorster headed into the final round tied on nine under and for the better part of the final 18 holes, the Louis Oosthuizen Junior Golf Academy stablemates were still neck-and-neck.
Vorster took the lead twice – first after Lamprecht dropped two shots at the par-five 3rd and again with a birdie at the 11th – but Lamprecht rallied twice to level the score.
He fired birdies at the 5th, 7th and 8th to join Vorster on 11 under and reeled the Mossel Bay golfer in with a birdie at the 13th.
Another gain at the 14th gave Lamprecht the lead for the first time and the 2018 East of Ireland winner stayed in front with pars over the next three holes. However, Vorster had one last chance to win or force a playoff at the final hole.
Vorster’s tee shot found the putting surface, Lamprecht’s veered into the greenside bunker.
‘I had a tough lie with very little room to manoeuvre,’ explained 17-year-old Lamprecht. ‘The greens are really fast and the grain ran away from me. I tried to come out high, catch the top of the green and roll the ball down to the hole, but I didn’t get much roll and was left with a 20-foot downhill putt.’
Vorster was on the front edge with much less distance to cover.
The 16-year-old from Mossel Bay had the perfect line and pace, but it just wasn’t his day. The putt lipped and he was left with a tap-in par for a round of 69 and second on 12 under.
‘That last putt was the story of Martin’s day,’ said Lamprecht after he boxed the winning putt for a 68.
‘We both played great golf tee to green, but the difference was the putts that dropped. It was fun to play against him, but also tough. We are really good mates and a part of me was also rooting for him,’
Lamprecht was thrilled to receive the trophy from 2018 Amateur champion Jovan Rebula.
‘Jovan was home and he decided to come and watch us play,’ said the 17-year-old Outeniqua High scholar. ‘He is such a class act and not just because he won the biggest amateur title in the world. He is a great example for all juniors and a great ambassador. It was really great that the juniors got to meet him, especially the U15 players in the tournament.
‘I gained a lot of experience on the UK Tour and I learned some valuable lessons. We tend to just bomb drives, but you win tournaments with good course management. You need to understand the conditions and plan your shots to optimise your chances to score. I did that well today.
‘I made a brilliant up-and-down from nowhere at 10th when I overshot the green with my tee shot and landed in a divot. I made crucial birdies at 13th and 14th and I came up with a good solution at 18th. I don’t think I have moved up a level yet, but it’s all moving in the right direction.’
Bridge Fund Junior Series winner Sam Simpson from Western Province produced the low round of the day, a five-under 67 that netted him third on his own on six under.
Meanwhile, Amilkar Bhana (above) underlined his rising star status when he lifted his first Sunshine Tour Junior Series title in the Dimension Data Junior Open at Kingswood Golf Estate.
The 13-year-old from Sandton was two off the pace in the U15 Challenge after an opening 71 at the Outeniqua Course at Fancourt.
He raced six shots clear with an even-par 72 in the second round at Kingswood and his lead was never threatened during the final trip at the links layout. A final round 75 netted Bhana a four-shot victory on two-over 218.
‘It was quite tough to go out there with such a big lead,’ said the Crawford Prep scholar. ‘I tried to do what the top golfers do. I stayed in the moment and I played shot-for-shot. And I forgot about the bogeys as quickly as they happened.’
Bhana already has two Nomads SA Boys U13 titles to his name and the Gowrie SA U15 Challenge trophy on the mantle at home, but was delighted to take this trophy home.
‘This was a really great tournament at two incredibly challenging courses,’ he said. ‘We played the first round in strong wind and rain at Outeniqua. Kingswood is very long, the rough is trouble and the greens are very fast. I really feel like I earned this win.
‘I can’t wait to tell my principal and Mrs Lees from Crawford College. Mr Haig has been so supportive of my career and my goals and Mrs Lees promised that she will carry on from Mr Haig and support my golf. I hope to win one or two more this year and I want to play more against the older juniors, because you learn a lot from them.’
Ivan Verster from Pinnacle Point closed with a 71 to take second and Leopard Park’s Stefano Marchetti returned an even-par 72 to finish in third on eight over.
Dimension Data Junior Open Final Result (top 20)
203 – Christo Lamprecht Jnr 70 65 68
204 – Martin Vorster 69 66 69
210 – Samuel Simpson 74 69 67
214 – Jordan Duminy 73 69 72; Tristan Galant 71 71 72
215 – Kian Rose 74 72 69
216 – Ben van Wyk 74 69 73; Casey Jarvis 73 73 70; Tyran Snyders 71 73 72
218 – Liam van Deventer 75 70 73; Marcus Taylor 70 72 76
219 – Carl Mwale 71 76 72
220 – Ayden Senger 78 70 72; Christiaan Burke 76 74 70; Luhan Bester 73 73 74; Daniel Cronje 73 72 75; Oliver Goldhill 73 71 76
221 – Jean Pierre van der Watt 78 72 71; Kieron van Wyk 75 74 72; Eben Spangenberg 74 72 75
U15 Challenge Final Results
218 – Amilkar Bhana 71 72 75
222 – Ivan Verster 74 77 71
224 – Stefano Marchetti 76 76 72
225 – Phil Snyman 73 77 75; Kayle Wykes 72 79 74; Rorisang Nkosi 69 80 76
227 – Filip Sakota 74 79 74; Christopher Bagnall 72 80 75
229 – Aiken Olivier 78 80 71; Jordan Wessels 77 79 73; Matthew Dennis 76 74 79; Dylan Melville 72 79 78
231 – Franco Gericke 82 73 76; Hannes Strooh 78 80 73; Fabrizio de Abreu 75 80 76
232 – Hunter Walker 78 79 75; Dujuan Snyman 76 81 75; Jaden Deltel 74 78 80; Lyle Roche Pedro 72 85 75
233 – James Alan Jarvis 77 80 76
Photo: Lamprecht (main picture) and Bhana receiving their trophies from reigning Amateur champion Jovan Rebula, by GolfRSA.