MMABATHO, South Africa (March 1, 2017) -- Connor Syme from Scotland will be stalking South Africa’s Christo Lamprecht when the third round of the African Amateur Championship tees off at Leopard Creek Golf Estate on Thursday.
Lamprecht started the day with a one shot cushion over the world number 16 ranked Syme.
The 16-year-old Southern Cape junior moved to 10 under with birdies at nine, 10, 12 and 16, but he ruined a promising run with a bogey-bogey finish. Although he protected his overnight lead with a two under 70, Syme matched his score when he covered three dropped shots with five birdies and the Scotsman still lurks just one off the pace at seven under.
There is even more trouble for Lamprecht further down the leaderboard.
Liam Johnston from Scotland fired a five under 67 and Luca Filippi from Western Province a 69 to finish three off the pace, while Frenchman Anthoine Auboin and Jeremy Freiburghaus from Switzerland carded 67s to finish four shots of the lead.
More Scottish pressure lurks at three under 141, with Jamie Stewart and Eric McIntosh joint seventh after with respective rounds of 68 and 72. England’s Joseph Long shot 69 and Khaled Attieh from Saudi Arabia even-par 72 to close out the top 10 at three under 141.
Syme – a member of the visiting Scottish Golf National Squad – lifted the Australian Amateur trophy last year. He was a member of the victorious Great Britain & Ireland team that won the St Andrews Trophy and he helped Scotland to retain their European team title last year.
Last week, the 22-year-old Drumoig amateur carded rounds of 71 and 69 in the weather-hit Joburg Open to miss the cut by just one shot and he arrived at Leopard Creek as a firm favourite, especially after a top 10 finish in 2016.
University of Tennessee graduate Johnston is just as fearsome.
The 24-year-old Dumfries golfer has been in the country since January and showed great form with a top five finish in the South African Stroke Play. He reached the quarterfinals of the Sanlam South African Championship at Humewood Golf Club last week, but was ousted by Caylum Boon, who bowed out to Lamprecht, the youngest champion of the country’s premier amateur championship.
The South African youth is taking it all in his stride, though.
“You can’t control what the other players do out there, so it’s pointless to worry about them,” said Lamprecht. “I like to keep it simple. I keep the focus on my own game, I play shot-for-shot and I try to produce the best score that I can. If my score is good enough, I’ll keep the lead. If it isn’t, I’ll just have to work harder in the final round.”
Meanwhile South Africa lost ground to Scotland in the teams competition.
Syme, Johnston and Craig Howie, who shot a 69, combined for a second round 206 to give the team a two-shot lead at 420.
Team RSA Juniors finished second on 422 and Team RSA (seniors) in third on 233.
Lamprecht and Filippi partnered Garrick Higgo (69) to a total of 208, while Marco Steyn (72), defending champion Albert Venter (72) and Kyle McClatchie (73) compiled a score of 217 for the senior side.