South African Christo Lamprecht and Ronan Kleu from Switzerland will meet in tomorrow’s Final of The 128th Amateur Championship at Hillside.
Lamprecht, 22, won the last three holes – helped by an eagle at the 17th – for a dramatic one-hole semi-final success against English teenager Frank Kennedy.
The highest-ranked player in the field, at sixth on the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®), will now aim to become the third South African to win The Amateur in the last six years.
Kleu won a one-sided semi-final against 16-year-old TK Chantananuwat from Thailand after easing to a superb 8&6 success.
The 23-year-old will bid to become the first Swiss player to ever win The Amateur in the 36-hole showdown. Twenty years ago at Royal Troon, Switzerland’s Raphael De Souza advanced to the Final before losing to Gary Wolstenholme of England.
Ranked 376th in the world, Kleu didn’t lose a single hole in his quarter and semi-final ties as he continued the form which saw him finish tied second in stroke play qualifying.
The pair will play for one of the most prestigious trophies in the amateur game with the winner also securing exemptions into The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool next month, the US Open, and, by tradition, an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament in 2024.
Lamprecht and Kennedy, 17, had a tight tussle which the South African edged. They shared five birdies in the opening five holes before Lamprecht’s bogey at the 6th gave Lytham Trophy winner Kennedy a one-hole advantage.
The tall South African, aiming to emulate compatriot Aldrich Potgieter after his win at Royal Lytham & St Annes last year, squared the match twice but Kennedy’s birdies at the 14th and 15th looked to be decisive. However, Kennedy’s bogey at the 16th and a stunning eagle by Lamprecht at the par-5 17th – his 15 feet putt leading to an emotional fist-pump – squared the tie. A solid par at the last after Kennedy found the greenside bunker sealed a comeback triumph.
Kleu was impressive from tee to green in the last-four tie with Chantananuwat, recording five birdies and just a single dropped shot. The Thai, placed 29th in the world, struggled to find his best form with a double bogey at the 2nd and four further bogeys as Kleu achieved a notable upset.
In the morning’s quarter-final matches, Chantananuwat and Max Schliesing played a fantastic tie. Ranked just inside the top-700 in the word standings, the Swiss was six-under-par for his round but still lost out by two holes.
Chantananuwat was two up after nine holes thanks to five birdies and just two dropped shots. His 22-year-old opponent fought all the way and squared the match after birdies at the 14th and 15th. Chantananuwat simply refused to give in and birdied the last three holes in a seven-under-par round.
The meeting between Kennedy and Irishman Alex Maguire was also a close contest. Kennedy was never behind but couldn’t shake off his opponent until late in the back nine. Maguire’s birdie two at the short 10th took him only one behind, before the par-5 11th proved to be key. Kennedy lost a ball to the left in the rough with his approach but still rescued a par, while Maguire made bogey. After the Englishman drove the par-4 14th with the tee pushed up, Kennedy closed out a 3&2 triumph.
Lamprecht’s powerful driving proved the difference against Richard Teder. With the Estonian more tactical with his play, the South African took out driver at every opportunity. He hooked his ball out of bounds at the 2nd to fall one down but produced four birdies in the next six holes to turn the match around. Teder, 18, has enjoyed a great week but his bogey at the par-3 10th and two further birdies from Lamprecht at the 12th and 13th closed out a 6&5 win.
Kleu was also a big winner, coming through his last-eight match against Sweden’s Tobias Jonsson by 5&4. Two birdies helped the Swiss national team player to two-up at the turn and Jonsson’s four bogeys in a row from the 10th saw his run come to an end.
Christo Lamprecht, said: “I was on the back foot all day so I'm in awe about getting it done. I didn't think I would but I just kept on fighting and getting myself in position to stay in the game – and the putt on 17 really helped doing that. Frank chipped (for his birdie) and I saw the break to an extent. I knew I had to make it. I left a lot of putts short today so I just knew if I gave this one a go and gave it a run. The celebration was a release of a lot of pent-up energy.
“It was fun to feed off the crowd. They are amazing and I love golf and it's really a blessing to be out here playing for them.”
Ronan Kleu, said: “I think I'm just trying to stick to my game plan. TK this morning had a really awesome showing. I think he shot seven-under and I was well aware of that. But then this afternoon I think I just had the momentum go in my favour a couple of times at the beginning. It was fun playing against him.
“I'm very excited and I also appreciate all the support I get from Swiss golf as a federation and all the support from everyone at home – it's great. I played a practise round with Raphael De Sousa at the DP World Tour event in Switzerland in 2021. He is a very good player.”