Vilips in action today – photo USGA Chris Reaves
17-year-old Karl Vilips has kept Australian hopes of a 3rd US Amateur Championship title alive by winning both his Round of 32 and Round of 16 matches on a hot day in Pinehurst, North Carolina today.
Vilips defeated American Steven Fisk in the morning round and in his afternoon encounter with the 2016 runner-up to Australian Curtis Luck in this event, Brad Dalke, he continued his impressive run with a 3&1 victory.
Vilips has never been behind in his three matches to date and tomorrow he takes on Texan William Holcomb who is playing his second US Amateur Championship.
“It was definitely my hardest match this week,” said Vilips. “You know, I was 5-under with no bogeys, and he just grinded it out, made a few birdies or I made pars, and I just did the same thing I’ve done the previous two matches: Get up early in the match and never lose the lead.
“It was definitely my most stressful match out there. Yeah, we just played really good golf.”
Playing the amount of amateur golf events he has, some of them at the elite level, has allowed Vilips to learn his trade and compete with the best players in amateur golf.
“Kind of shows me that I can play against anyone. That definitely helped me a lot today, playing Steven and Brad. Just being able to place top 10 in those elite fields like the Western Am, Pac Coast, Northeast, it really just gave me confidence that my game is good enough to compete with these guys.”
Vilips would become the third Australian to win amateur golf’s most significant men’s title, following in the footsteps of Nick Flanagan and Curtis Luck, should he make it all the way through this week.
Indonesian born but Perth raised before heading to the US to play junior golf and attend junior school from the age of 11, Vilips is schedule to attend Stanford University in 2020 but he is already being touted as a rising star of world golf having won events such as the Southern Amateur Championship in 2018 and numerous junior championships in the US.
Brisbane’s, Jack Trent, was the other Australian to make it into the Round of 32 but was agonisingly defeated in his morning match by the brother of standout English professional, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Alex Fitzpatrick taking the match at the 21st after Trent had taken a 1 up lead to the 18th hole before a playoff was required.
Karl Vilips wins 3 & 1 and is the last player to make the #USAmateur quarterfinals!
— USGA (@USGA) August 15, 2019