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Lamprecht progresses to the last-32 of The 128th Amateur Championship

Image credit: The R&A

South African Christo Lamprecht, the highest-ranked player in the field, came through two match play ties to progress to the last-32 of The 128th Amateur Championship at Hillside.

The 22-year-old, sixth on the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®), is among the contenders to win the trophy lifted by his compatriot, Aldrich Potgieter, at Royal Lytham & St Annes 12 months ago.

After a record 90 players qualified for the knock-out stage at Hillside, Lamprecht came through the preliminary round with a narrow one-hole win over Jack Ingham from the Netherlands.

Making his third appearance in the Championship, Lamprecht then claimed a 3&2 victory over American George Duangmanee to keep his hopes alive on a glorious day in England’s north-west.

However, leading qualifier Ben Van Wyk of South Africa lost out by two holes to Wales’ Caolan Burford, who reached the quarter-finals of last year’s R&A Boys’ Amateur at Carnoustie.

England’s John Gough, a semi-finalist a year ago and a renowned match play specialist, also progressed to the last-32 after a 2&1 triumph against Oliver Mukherjee, the reigning Scottish Amateur champion. Gough has won both the Australian Master of the Amateurs and the Irish Amateur Open this year and closed out his win with a battling half at the par-5 17th.

Another semi-finalist from last year, Ireland’s Alex Maguire, recovered from three down after nine holes to defeat Jakob Melin from Sweden with a birdie on the 18th.

Fellow Irishman and former Walker Cup player Caolan Rafferty was also a victor, ousting Thom Linssen from the Netherlands 4&3, as he enjoys the hard and fast links conditions. Frank Kennedy continued the form that saw the 17-year-old win the Lytham Trophy earlier this season as he beat Mark Stockdale 4&2 in an all-English tie.

Richard Teder from Estonia, who finished joint-second in stroke play qualifying, also reached the last-32 after his 2&1 win against England’s Charlie Crockett.

American Tommy Morrison, who attends the University of Texas, was a winner too, beating Swede Gustav Andersson 5&4 thanks to quickly adapting to the links conditions on his first visit to the UK.

Sweden’s Albert Hansson, the reigning Boys’ Amateur Champion, also bowed out losing 5&4 to England’s James Claridge, as did Ireland’s Mark Power in the morning action after a 3&2 defeat to Welshman James Ashfield.

Late in the day, an epic match unfolded as Mats Ege from Norway won at the 27th against Nicola Gerhardsen of Switzerland.

The winner of Saturday’s 36-hole Final will secure exemptions into The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool next month, the US Open, and, by tradition, an invitation to play in the Masters Tournament.

Christo Lamprecht said: “This morning was probably one of the best match play matches I've played in a long time. I think I was about seven-under-par. Jack was about six-under. I won on 18 for a one-up win. I was very pleased the way I was playing, and win or lose, I would have been happy with how I played that round.

“Since The Amateur last year I’ve spent a lot of time with Aldrich (Potgieter) and he's a great golfer. I would love to do exactly what he did last year.”

John Gough said: “I enjoy match play. I just find when you play stroke play you don't have to play everyone in the championship. So you might only be one of 288 players, but you're also playing the golf course. When you're playing match play, there's just one other score you have to worry about. I find it almost, in a sense, easier because you don't have to sign a scorecard at the end or anything. It's just how the day went.”