Lawrence in the hunt at Irish Amateur

Just a few days after he lifted the Royal Lytham Trophy in England, reigning Sanlam SA Amateur champion Thriston Lawrence is in pursuit of Irishman Gary McDermott at the Irish Amateur Open in Dublin.

Lawrence became the first South African to win the prestigious Royal Lytham Trophy on Sunday, and now hopes to emulate Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen, who won the championship in 2002.

The 17-year-old Mpumalanga golfer braved high winds that lambasted the field at the Royal Dublin Golf Club on Thursday to reel in three birdies and limit the damage of bogeys at the par-four eighth and 17th holes, and a double bogey at the par-three ninth.

His opening a one-over-par 73 left Lawrence within striking distance of the local favourite, who tops the first round leaderboard at three under 69.

Scotland’s Alexander Culverwell finished one shot off the pace, while Tom Gandy from the Isle of Man and Dutchman Sam Westdijk are tied for third on 71.

Only four players managed to break par in the strong, gusting wind at Bull Island and the bulk of the field struggled to come to terms in the gale-force conditions on the outward nine.

Swiss golfer Adrien Michellod, who went out in 35, but came back in 50. However, South Africa’s top ranked Christiaan Bezuidenhout was equally solid in his trip around the 7,269 yard layout.

The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member had bogeys at the fourth and sixth, but turned in one over after a birdie at the par-three seventh.

Eight pars on the back nine and a double bogey at the par-four 13th saw Bezuidenhout in a tie for 30th on three-over-par 75.

The conditions took their toll on fellow Ekurhuleni golfer NJ Arnoldi, though, who will have his work cut out to recover from an opening 14-over-par 86.

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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