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Top SA juniors off to Royal Troon to watch seniors in action
- Updated: July 15, 2016
As one prestigious Open wrapped up on Wednesday, another started in Scotland on Thursday and, having flown the flag for South Africa with great pride in the Junior Open Championship this week, two of the country’s brightest prospects were eager to get to Royal Troon to for the first round of The Open Championship.
Christo Lamprecht from Southern Cape and Gauteng’s Woo-Ju Son joined the 152-strong field from 80 countries in the biennial event hosted by the R&A. This year’s edition was played from 11-13 July at the Kilmarnock Barrassie Links, just three kilometres from Royal Troon.
Coming off victory in the Dimension Data Junior Open and a runner-up finish in the Nomads SA Boys Under-17 Championship, Lamprecht was frustrated after an opening 82.
However, the Louis Oosthuizen Junior Academy player rallied with rounds of 78 and 72 to tie for 22nd on 232.
Curro SA Junior International Girls champion Son opened with a pretty solid 77, but the Wanderers junior struggled on the greens and further rounds of 81 and 85 saw Son (pictured here) finish joint 46th on 243.
Pedro Lencart Silva from Portugal sealed a five stroke victory on five under 214.
Silva carded rounds of 73, 74 and 67 to edge out Valeria Pacheco from Puerto Rico, while first round leader Yifan Ji from China took third on one over 220.
Lamprecht from Oubaai was the top finisher among the African competitors.
The only other participant from the continent to survive the cut, set at 25 over 171, was Morocco’s Amine Benabdallah, who tied for 77th on 256.
One of the perks of competing in the Junior Open is the opportunity to watch the world’s top professionals in action as guests of the R&A for the first two rounds of The Open Championship and the South African juniors were champing at the bit to get to Royal Troon.
‘Woo-Ju and I are extremely excited,’ said Oubaai’s Lamprecht. ‘We got a first-hand look at these Links courses this week and they are tough, especially in windy and wet conditions. The greens were extremely tricky with all the mounds and curves and you have to hit the right side of these greens if you want to make red numbers.
‘It’s going to be great to see how the pros do it. We are going to watch all the South Africans and it will be interesting to see how Haydn Porteous does. He holds the course record at Kilmarnock with a 65 he shot in the Scottish Amateur Open in 2012, so we think he might do really well at Troon.’