Karl Vilips – photo Justin Falconer Golf Australia
US based Perth golfer, Karl Vilips, has finished as the leading Australian at the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship near Shanghai in China, the 18 year old recovering from a slow start to the event to finish in a share of 8th place in his first appearance in the prestigious event for the leading male amateurs in the Asia Pacific region.
Vilips moved past Australia’s long-time leading player this week, Blake Windred, who struggled to a final round of 76 after sharing the lead into the final day.
Windred was on the back foot early on day four, two bogeys early were followed by a brief fightback before a double bogey at the 9th. He would then drop shots at his last three holes to finish 13th.
Vilips, who later this year will head the International side in the Junior Presidents Cup, is scheduled to play collegiate golf at Stanford University in California in 2020 but he is already accumulating quite a record in amateur golf having won several significant junior events and in 2018 the Southern Amateur Championship.
Windred finished in 13th place while fellow Australians Nathan Barbieri and David Micheluzzi were 18th, Jack Thompson 21st and Kyle Michel 54th.
Harry Hillier was the best of the New Zealanders when he finished 18th.
The winner of the tournament was China’s Yuxin Lin who defeated the defending champion Takumi Kanaya at the second extra hole of a playoff to win the event for the second occasion having also won in 2017 in Wellington in New Zealand.
“It definitely means a lot to me, especially this week, winning at home is certainly huge for me and for China golf, as well. I’m just really honored to be alongside Hideki as a two-time winner,” said Lin, who turns 19 in two weeks.
The 18th hole had proven troublesome for Lin, who played the hole in four over par over his last three rounds.
“I was having a little trouble with the 18th three days in a row. We knew there were extra holes coming up and stepping on the 18th again wasn’t a great feeling for me. And especially that lie off the tee shot, in the first extra hole, definitely not what you wanted.
“But at least everything turned out pretty well, so pretty satisfied,” added the world No. 114, who clinched his first AAC title with an impressive birdie-eagle finish at Royal Wellington Golf Club in New Zealand.
“I didn’t really think about the win. I was just trying to play some good golf out there. I made some mistakes throughout the round but stayed patient the whole time.
“It really matters a lot playing against the best amateur in the world right now, and especially to be able to get that win is definitely huge. Obviously, Takumi is a great player. It gives me a lot of confidence to be able to compete with the No. 1 player in the world in extra holes.”
Lin gets to play the Masters and the Open Championship in 2020 having also played those events in 2018 as a result of his win at the Royal Wellington Golf Club.
It was China’s fourth victory in the event which has been running since 2009.
The winner Yuxin Lin – photo courtesy of AAC Golf