Dumfries & County player wins on great week for Scots at Leopard Creek
By SCG Newsdesk
LIAM JOHNSTON led a victorious 1-2-3 for Scottish Golf at the African Amateur Strokeplay Championship, adding to the team triumph secured by the Scots at Leopard Creek.
After the Dumfries & County player celebrated success as part of the Scots’ title defence
in the team competition, Johnston claimed his biggest international success on an afternoon of drama over the
final nine holes.
Christo Lamprecht, the 16-year-old South African who had led through the first three rounds, looked on course for back-to-back victories after his record-setting triumph in the Sanlam SA Amateur Championship the previous week.
However, a poor run of form on the back nine, including two double bogeys, saw the Southern Cape teenager drop out of the title hunt and hand the initiative to the visitors.
It was 24-year-old Johnston who held his nerve to recover from a triple bogey at the 11th and step in to take the title, posting a 72-hole total of 280 to win by a shot from Connor Syme of Drumoig, with reigning Scottish Boys’ Order of Merit champion Jamie Stewart of Old Ranfurly a shot further back.
Johnston, who played for Scotland in last year’s Fairstone Men’s Home Internationals, previously won the Tennant Cup on the domestic scene in 2012 but described the South Africa victory as the biggest and most memorable achievement of his career.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” he said. “I feel like I finally got the monkey off my back. I won a lot of team events when I was at the University of Tennessee but I never won an individual title, despite coming close many times. I can’t begin to describe how amazing it feels to land this victory.
“I hope this pays back all the support my family and my coach James Erskine has given me and the trust Scottish Golf placed in me to bring me out with the national squad to South Africa this year.”
Craig Howie continued his fine form with a third top ten in South Africa by finishing fifth, with Calum Fyfe 11th and Eric McIntosh sharing 12th to complete a fine week’s work for the Scots.