PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (February 23, 2017) -- The first all-South African final since 2014 will also be an all-Southern Cape affair in the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship after Caylum Boon and Christo Lamprecht showcased their skills in a four-club south-westerly wind that pummelled the players in first the quarterfinals and then the semi-finals at Humewood Golf Club on Thursday.
Boon downed Andre van Heerden from Mpumalanga 3 & 2 in their semi-final and Lamprecht sealed a 1-up victory against Dylan Kok from Gauteng North in their knock-out match.
But it was in the quarterfinals that the South Africans really stepped up to plate to guarantee that the title of the premier amateur event stays on local soil.
Boon denied Scotland a third successive, and fifth victory in seven years, when he ousted last man standing Liam Johnston at the 21st hole in the quarter-finals.
The 19-year-old George golfer won the Eastern Province Stroke Play Championship in a sudden-death play-off at Humewood in strikingly similar conditions just four months ago, but it was the experienced Liam Johnston who was the early favourite in the clash at the renowned links-layout.
However, Boon scored the first point with a birdie at the par four first and he didn’t relinquish the lead until Johnston fired three successive birdies at holes 16, 17 and 18 to square the match.
“I eagled 17 against his birdie to go 1-up again, but he birdied 18,” said Boon. “We halved the first two extra holes in pars, but he bogeyed the third and I took the match with a par.”
Boon faced Van Heerden, who defeated Englishman Joseph Long 1-up, in the quarterfinal.
“I was 3-up after 10 holes, but I left my second in the thick stuff and caught a flier when I punched out and ended up with a bogey. I dropped another shot at 13 when I allowed for too much break on the par putt and I made a shocking three-putt for another bogey at 14. Andre dropped shots at 12 and 15, so I still had a 3-up lead with three to play. We halved the 16th in pars and I won 3 & 2.
“I had a rough start to 2017 after a long break, but the rust came and some parts of the game started working. The putting wasn’t up to standard, but it really came along nicely this week. The conditions were tough, especially after five days with absolutely no wind.
“If you can make par in this wind, you are doing better than the field. Some of the par fours and par fives are straight into you and hard to reach. A lot guys hit drivers, but you don’t have to. It’s better to have a full wedge in, because the driver brings more trouble into play. I love this course and I’m always praying that the wind will show up. That’s when Humewood is at its best.”
Lamprecht started a steady rise in the rankings when he hammered home victory in the Dimension Data Junior Open in July last year and rose the top of the South African Golf Association’s Junior Rankings at the end of 2016.
The GolfRSA National Squad member eliminated last year’s semi-finalist Loris Schuepbah in the first round, defeated top ranked Southern Cape golfer Andre Nel in round two and downed Garrick Higgo from Boland – the highest ranked SA junior in the World Amateur Golf Rankings – in the third round.
After beating Chandra from the Indian Golf Union’s Gentlemen Squad 4 & 3 to make the final four, Lamprecht faced Kok for a spot in the final.
The Louis Oosthuizen Junior Academy player opened with six straight pars and was 3-up at the turn after a birdie at seven and a double bogey from Kok at six. A few costly mistakes down the back nine, though, allowed Kok back into the match.
“I got a little tight and made a few silly mistakes,” said Lamprecht. “I bogeyed 10, 13 and 14, but I made two crucial putts that kept me going. At 11 I hit the tee shot down the left and hit driver off the deck but it flew into the long grass. The ball was stuck behind a huge clump of grass.
“I had 90 metres to the pin and gave it everything I had, but I only moved the ball 40 metres. I chipped to 15 feet and boxed the par putt. Dylan missed a 12-footer for par, so that was a big save. I matched his birdie at 17 to stay 1-up and we halved 18 in pars.
“I missed a three-footer for birdie at 18, though, and I don’t to miss those against Caylum on Friday. I’m excited to play the final. Last year I made it into the match play, but I got knocked out in the first round. I only wanted to do better this year, so this is a huge surprise. It’s nice to up against Caylum in the final, though. There is no pressure; it will be like a home game.”