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Amateur Lamprecht takes shock clubhouse lead at British Open

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Hoylake, United Kingdom: South African amateur Christo Lamprecht took a surprise clubhouse lead on the first morning of the 151st British Open at Hoylake on Thursday.

Lamprecht, who won the Amateur Championship last month to secure his place at Royal Liverpool, carded a five-under-par round of 66 that included seven birdies.

Despite the glorious blue skies on the Wirral coastline, some of the more stellar names in the field struggled to keep pace with the 22-year-old.

World number one Scottie Scheffler has been a model of consistency on the PGA Tour this season but has so far missed out on adding to his one major win at the 2022 Masters.

The American birdied two of his opening four holes, but dropped a shot at the eighth to make the turn at one under.

Defending champion Cameron Smith was also one under after an eventful front nine that included three birdies and two bogeys.

Smith and Brooks Koepka appear to pose the biggest threat from the group of players now regularly plying their trade in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.

But Koepka, who won his fifth major at the PGA Championship in May, was one over through 11 holes.

England's Matthew Jordan hit the first tee shot at 6:35 am local time (0535 GMT) on the course where he is a member.

The world number 329 is just three shots off the lead after carding a 69.

"I'm kind of running out of words to describe it," Jordan said. "It was crazy, mental, loud, everything that I could have wished for."

Veteran Stewart Cink is another surprise name at the top of the leaderboard as the 50-year-old American finished at three under par.

- All eyes on McIlroy -

World number two Rory McIlroy will be the centre of attention later as he returns to the Royal Liverpool course where he lifted the Claret Jug for the only time in 2014.

The Northern Irishman backed up that victory by winning the PGA Championship the following month, but has been stuck on four major titles ever since.

McIlroy came agonisingly close both at last year's British Open at St Andrews and last month, when he missed out at the US Open by one shot to Wyndham Clark.

However, doubts over the 34-year-old's ability to handle the pressure coming down the stretch on Sunday were dispelled last weekend as a birdie-birdie finish in blustery conditions secured his first Scottish Open title.

"I could not ask for better preparation," said McIlroy. "The way I played the last two holes (in Scotland) was an amazing finish and a perfect way to come into this week.

"I've had a great nine years and won a lot of tournaments but the big four have eluded me. Hopefully this week that's something I can change."

McIlroy is among the late starters on Thursday as he tees off alongside Masters champion Jon Rahm and former world number one Justin Rose around 1400 GMT.


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