Lamprecht shows East-ern promise as Baltray firms up
 Christo Lamprecht (South Africa) driving at the 8th tee during day one of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down Golf. Picture by  Pat Cashman

Christo Lamprecht (South Africa) driving at the 8th tee during day one of the Flogas Irish Amateur Open Championship at Royal County Down Golf. Picture by Pat Cashman

South Africa's Christo Lamprecht might not have much links experience but he knows he must hit more fairways at Baltray today if he's to become the first overseas winner of the East of Ireland Amateur Open Championship.

A product of the Louis Oosthuizen Junior Academy, the six feet seven inch, 17-year-old became the youngest winner in the 110-year history of the South African Amateur Championship last year.

But were he to capture the title at Baltray today, he knows he would boost his chances of making the three-man team for the Eisenhower Trophy which will be held at Carton House later this summer.

After opening with a six-under-par 66 in ideal conditions on Saturday to finish in a six-way tie for the lead, he started and finished with bogeys yesterday but made six birdies in between to lead by a stroke on 10-under par from former Irish Boys international Devin Morley from Oughterard and by two from Massereene's Tiarnan McLarnon, the 2015 Irish Close champion.

Now his goal is to make sure he's playing from the sunbaked fairways at Baltray over the final two rounds so he can keep his title tilt on track.

"This is a really nice course and a great test," said Lamprecht, who started with a bogey at the 10th but birdied the 15th, 16th and 18th and then reeled off three birdies in a row from the fourth before dropping a shot at the ninth

"I had a good round today and hit a lot of greens but the driver was off and I missed a few fairways here and there. 

"It was a pity to drop one on the last — I hit it left into the thick stuff on the ninth — and even though I pitched it on the front of the green, it rolled all the way over the back.

"Like all links courses, you really have to keep it in short grass if you want to control the ball. You have to to be in the right place to come into the greens in the right spots for some of these flags.

"I struggled for my first few holes and didn't make any birdies but I hit a really nice eight-iron to five feet at the fifth and rolled it in and that got my game going again." 

With a light southeast breeze blowing across a firm and fast links, 20-year-old Morley drove the ball long and straight and that allowed him to take on some tight pins positions.

“I had a nice run of three birdies in a row from the 18th to the second,” said the University of Louisville star after adding a 69 to his opening 66. 

“I was disappointed to three-putt the third for par but that stretch got my round going. My game feels good, so I'm excited about tomorrow.”

Coached by Derek McNamara at home and Aaron O'Callaghan in the US, he's seeking his first major win and he's clearly one of the up and coming young breed at an event where the cut fell at what may be an unprecedented low — level par — in an event where 151 or 152 almost always has a chance.

International McLarnon, 26, got to 10-under par with two holes to go but then got out of position at the eighth and ninth and finished with two bogeys for a 70 that leaves him just two strokes behind.

"I'm playing rightly," said McLarnon, who is keen to pick up another championship win after his Close victory over Alex Gleeson at Tramore. "I came here just to play and we will see what tomorrow holds.

"It's hard to win championships because there are so many good players and there are many good players here this week. But it is nice to be up near the top of the leaderboard.

"I finished fifth here a few years ago after a couple of good scores on the last day but it is as firm as I have played it in a long time. You have to be precise and understand the course and I did that well until I got out of position on the last two holes.

"You just have to play it from the fairway. That's the key around here."

He sits alone in third on eight-under-par with Dundalk international Caolan Rafferty (69,) County Sligo’s TJ Ford (69), Cairndhu’s Marc McKinstry (71) and Cork’s John Hickey (72) tied for fourth on six-under.

Eight of the 12 Irish senior panellists in action made the level par cut with Kilkenny’s Mark Power (68) and Hermitage’s Rowan Lester (71) nicely place in a share of eighth on five-under alongside Malone’s Matthew McClean (73), Argentina’s Marcos Montenegro (71) and Black Bush talent Sean Doyle (73). 

Douglas' Peter O'Keeffe battled back from five over after a triple bogey six at the 15th, his sixth but despite a closing birdie at the ninth, a 74 left him one stroke the level par cut mark.

Reece Black, the title holder, bowed out by two shots after rounds of 75 and 71 left him on 146.

East of Ireland Amateur Open Championship County Louth GC (Par 72)

Sponsored by The d Hotel Drogheda

Monday’s tee-times

1st Tee

  • (07:00 /12:30) Jack Madden (Royal Portrush); Michael Jnr Ryan (New Ross); Colin Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire);
  • (07:11/12:41)  Ronan Mullarney (Galway); Eanna Griffin (Waterford); Clayton Mansfield (South Africa);
  • (07:22/12:52)  Fraser Carr (Kirkistown Castle); Runar Arnorsson (Iceland)’ David Foy (Laytown & Bettystown);
  • (07:33/13:03)  Matthew McClean (Malone); Sean Doyle (Black Bush); Marcos Montenegro (Argentina);
  • (07:44/13:14)  Rowan Lester (Hermitage); Mark Power (Kilkenny); John Hickey (Cork);
  • (07:55 /13:25)  Marc McKinstry (Cairndhu); T J Ford (Co. Sligo); Caolan Rafferty (Dundalk);
  • (08:06 /13:36)  Tiarnan McLarnon (Massereene); Devin Morley (Oughterard); Christo Lamprecht (South Africa).

10th Tee

  • (07:00 /12:30)  Alan Lowry (Esker Hills); Eugene Smith (Laytown & Bettystown); 
  • (07:11 /12:41)  Geoff Lenehan (Portmarnock); James Sugrue (Mallow);
  • (07:22 /12:52)  Paul Coughlan (Castleknock); Alan Dowling (Hermitage); Peter McKeever (Castle);
  • (07:33 /13:03)  Gary Cullen (Beaverstown); John Murphy (Kinsale); Padraic O'Brien (Co. Louth);
  • (07:44 /13:14)  Gerard Dunne (Co. Louth); James Fox (Portmarnock); Jack Mc Donnell (Forrest Little);
  • (07:55 /13:25)  Richard Knightly (Royal Dublin); Hugh O'Hare (Fortwilliam); Stephen Watts (Cairndhu);
  • (08:06 /13:36)  Keith Egan (Carton House); Stephen Healy (Royal Dublin); Therion Nel (South Africa);
  • (08:17 /13:47)  Gary O’Flaherty (Cork); Conor Purcell (Portmarnock); Jayden Schaper (South Africa).

Detailed scores

Qualifiers

134 C Lamprecht (RSA) 66 68;

135 D Morley (Oughterard) 66 69;

136 T McLarnon (Massereene) 66 70;

138 C Rafferty (Dundalk) 69 69; T Ford (Co. Sligo) 69 69; M McKinstry (Cairndhu) 67 71; J Hickey (Cork) 66 72; 

139 M Power (Kilkenny) 71 68; R Lester (Hermitage) 68 71; M Montenegro (Arg) 68 71; S Doyle (Black Bush) 66 73; M McClean (Malone Golf Club) 66 73; 

140 D Foy (Laytown & Bettystown) 70 70; R Arnorsson (Ice) 70 70; F Carr (Kirkistown Castle) 69 71; C Mansfield (RSA) 69 71; E Griffin (Waterford) 67 73; R Mullarney (Galway) 67 73; 

141 C Woodroofe (Dun Laoghaire) 71 70; M Ryan (New Ross) 71 70; J Madden (Royal Portrush) 71 70; J Schaper (RSA) 70 71; C Purcell (Portmarnock) 69 72; G O’Flaherty (Cork) 67 74; T Nel (RSA) 66 75;

142 S Healy (The Royal Dublin) 74 68; K Egan (Carton House) 71 71;

143 H O’Hare (Fortwilliam) 76 67; R Knightly (The Royal Dublin) 74 69; S Watts (Cairndhu) 72 71; J Fox (Portmarnock) 71 72; J Mc Donnell (Forrest Little) 71 72; G Dunne (Co. Louth) 70 73; P O'Brien (Co. Louth) 69 74; G Cullen (Beaverstown) 69 74; J Murphy (Kinsale) 68 75;  

144 A Dowling (Hermitage) 72 72; P McKeever (Castle) 72 72; P Coughlan (Castleknock) 71 73; J Sugrue (Mallow) 71 73; G Lenehan (Portmarnock) 71 73; A Lowry (Esker Hills) 70 74; E Smith (Laytown & Bettystown) 68 76

Non-Qualifiers

145 G Smyth (Clonmel) 75 70; W Small (Tandragee) 74 71; J Lyons (Galway) 74 71; D Reddan Jnr (Nenagh) 72 73; A Ryan (Thurles) 71 74; P O’Keeffe (Douglas) 71 74;

146 R Black (Hilton Templepatrick) 75 71; H Thordarson (Ice) 75 71; G Bohill (Co. Louth) 75 71; T Clarke (Royal Portrush) 75 71; A Maguire (Laytown & Bettystown) 73 73; A Wilson (Portmarnock) 73 73; W Russell (Clandeboye) 71 75; R Brazill (Naas) 71 75; M Collins (Killeen Castle) 71 75;

147 M Lezcano (Arg) 75 72; K Bornemann (Douglas) 75 72; N Hearns (Mountrath) 73 74; T O’Connor (Athlone) 73 74; J Whelan (Newlands) 73 74; P O’Hanlon (Carton House) 71 76;

148 A Marshall (Lisburn) 75 73; G Ward (Kinsale) 73 75; P Murray (Clontarf) 72 76; M Nolan (Dun Laoghaire) 72 76; S McDermott (Co. Cavan) 72 76; R Pierse (Grange) 72 76; C Butler (Kinsale) 72 76; D Brophy (Castleknock) 70 78; 

149 P Connolly (Killeen Castle) 79 70; J Hearn (Tramore) 77 72; D Coghlan (Portmarnock) 75 74; E Leonard (Killiney/Wentworth) 74 75; M O’Rourke (Royal Tara) 74 75; S Flanagan (Co. Sligo) 73 76; R Williamson (Holywood) 72 77;

150 R Cannon (Balbriggan) 77 73; G Collins (Rosslare) 76 74; D McAleenon (Edenmore) 74 76; M Reid (Galgorm Castle) 74 76; J Greene (Portmarnock) 73 77; P Murphy (Rosslare) 73 77; A Kearney (Castlerock) 73 77; R Dutton (Tandragee) 70 80;

151 R Moran (Castle) 77 74; J Doherty (Carton House) 77 74; D Holland (Castle) 75 76; C Moulds (Lisburn) 75 76; G Fitzmaurice (Balcarrick) 75 76; D Kitt (Athenry) 75 76; H Foley (The Royal Dublin) 75 76; A McCormack (Castletroy) 74 77; M Norton (Belvoir Park) 74 77; I O’Rourke (The Royal Dublin) 73 78;

152 S Ryan (The Royal Dublin) 78 74; A Hill (Athenry) 77 75; V Jonasson (Ice) 77 75; L Armour (Australia) 76 76; J Walsh (Castle) 76 76; S Greenberg (Tandragee) 74 78;

153 M Kennedy (The Royal Dublin) 78 75; A Fahy (Dun Laoghaire) 73 80; A Grant (Dundalk) 72 81;

154 J Sutherland (Galgorm Castle) 80 74; C Ryan (Dun Laoghaire) 80 74; C Feeney (Co. Sligo) 78 76; P Brennan (Belvoir Park) 78 76; R McKinstry (Cairndhu) 77 77; G Copeland (Ardglass) 76 78;

155 T Collins (Dun Laoghaire) 79 76; C Dullaghan (Greenore) 79 76; C Denvir (Elm Park) 78 77; S Cullen (Slieve Russell) 78 77; J Fletcher (Warrenpoint) 74 81;

156 D Brady (Co. Sligo) 79 77; S Sweeney (Vista Valencia) 73 83;

157 B Anderson (The Royal Dublin) 75 82; J Blake (The Island) 74 83;

158 L Mills (Australia) 77 81;

159 E Farrell (Ardee) 79 80; J Byrne (Baltinglass) 75 84;

160 A McDaid (Palmerstown Stud) 81 79;

WD E McCormack (Galway Bay) 71 WD;

RTD P Kirby (Dun Laoghaire); J Carvill (Banbridge); M Kane (Larne); S Carter (The Royal Dublin); B Murray (Waterford Castle); L Power (Galway).