AAP Golf

Vilips shares lead in US Junior Amateur

By AAP Newswire

Australian young gun Karl Vilips shares the lead in the US Junior Amateur Championship after the opening round.

Seventeen-year-old Vilips shot two-under-par 69 on the historic Inverness club course in Toledo, Ohio to be tied with American William Mouw.

Based in the US on golf scholarships since age 11 and off scratch at age 12, Vilips won gold at last year's Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires and has committed to attend Stanford University next year.

At 15 he became the equal youngest player to win the Southern Amateur, a prestigious open-age tournament in the US, sharing the honour with legend Bobby Jones.

Vilips was the only golfer in the 156-player field to go bogey-free in Monday's first round.

"You have to put it in the fairway off the tee," said Vilips.

"Every fairway bunker I found, I was up against the lip. I took my medicine on those holes and trusted my wedge game."

World No.4 amateur and 2018 runner-up Akshay Bhatia is a shot behind Vilips and Mouw with defending champion Michael Thorbjornsen another stroke back as he seeks to join three-time champion Tiger Woods as the only player to successfully defend the title.

The field will be trimmed to 64 players after Tuesday's second round of stroke play.

Match play will begin on Wednesday and the championship will conclude with a 36-hole final on Saturday.