Africa Amateur Championship

Maas sets sights on historic win at inaugural Africa Amateur Championship

The R&A
16 Feb 24
3 mins

Christiaan Maas is setting his sights on becoming the next South African golfer to make waves in the amateur game by winning the inaugural Africa Amateur Championship being played at Leopard Creek from 21-24 February.

Maas, who is the leading player in the field at 13th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®), has already won the South Africa Amateur Championship and Brabazon Trophy and also impressed by clinching low amateur honours in the South African Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship on the men’s professional tours. The 20-year-old, who hails from Pretoria, is now aiming to follow in the footsteps of compatriots Aldrich Potgieter and Christo Lamprecht, who have excelled in the amateur ranks in recent times, and earn a place in The Open by winning the Africa Amateur on home soil.

Growing talent in SA

“There was a wave of very good young South African golfers coming through when I was aged fifteen to eighteen, particularly with the likes of Christo (Lamprecht), and there was always a high level of competition among us when we competed in tournaments together,” said Maas. “When Golf RSA organised tours to the UK for events, there was always healthy competition. That’s the one thing that keeps you competitive and sharp – you’re basically playing events every week.” While there remained a competitive spirit among South Africa’s rising talent, there was also  camaraderie and friendship evident – no more so than when Maas found himself caddying for Potgieter and then Lamprecht as they won The Amateur Championship in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Amateur Championship target

“Last year (at Hillside), I had a difficult first round and would have had to have played very well in the second round to qualify so I said to Christo ‘I’ll caddie for you, if I don’t make it’”, explained Maas. “He barely just made it with a birdie on the last. I’ve played a lot of golf with him at college and we have very similar games, although he hits it a bit further off the tee. We’re also pretty good at getting out of trouble when we need to. So our minds are much the same on the golf course. “Being caddie for him was a lot of fun. The Amateur Championship is one I’ve also got my eye on and am looking forward to it later this year (at Ballyliffin). It would be a very weird kind of three-peat – going caddie-caddie-then winning it – if I could get to the Final and win. There’s still a long way to go!”. 
The week will also see 20 elite women’s amateur golfers compete over 54 holes at Leopard Creek in the first playing of the Africa Amateur Women’s Invitational.

Major opportunities

Indeed, the next assignment for the University of Texas student is to capitalise on previous form shown at Leopard Creek and become the first ever Africa Amateur Champion. The life-changing opportunities that come with winning include an exemption into The 152nd Open at Royal Troon in July, something that Maas believes will inspire young golfers across the continent. “I think the Africa Amateur Championship will inspire more young people to play golf and achieve the dream of playing in this special event,” said Maas. “It will make them want to get their game to as good a level as it can be so they can compete at Leopard Creek and maybe play in The Open. That would probably be the goal for everyone and that’s definitely my goal.” Maas appears to be the golfer to beat for the other competitors at Leopard Creek next week. He also enjoyed a successful season last year in which he finished runner-up in the Western Amateur in the United States of America, was selected for the International team in the Arnold Palmer Cup and earned Second Team All-American honours at the University of Texas. He is joined by fellow South Africans Altin van der Merwe (176), runner-up at the recent Free State Open, and 2023 Northern Amateur Open champion Daniel Bennett (289), who has already won this year at the NOMADS Coastal and won the 2023 NOMADS South Africa U19 Stroke Play.

About the Championship

The first ever playing of the Africa Amateur Championship will feature 72 of the continent’s most promising elite men’s amateur golfers
Set against the stunning backdrop of the Kruger National Park, the inaugural championship at Leopard Creek will provide a world-class platform for the region’s rising talent to compete against each other, with golfers representing 24 nations making up the field.
The winner will earn exemptions into The 152nd Open at Royal Troon, The Amateur Championship, the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Waterfall City Tournament of Champions powered by Attacq, providing life-changing opportunities for the eventual champion.
The week will also see 20 elite women’s amateur golfers compete over 54 holes in the first playing of the Africa Amateur Women’s Invitational. The winner will earn starts in The Women’s Amateur Championship, Final Qualifying for the AIG Women’s Open and The Investec South African Women’s Open in 2024, and the Lalla Meryem Cup and Magical Kenya Ladies Open in 2025.
For more information on the Africa Amateur Championship and Africa Amateur Women’s Invitational, including competing players, please visit You can also follow official social media channels across FacebookInstagramX, and YouTube