For most kids, school holidays is a pretty laid back two week period involving spending time with friends and participating in activities. For a number of elite Victorian junior golfers however the past two weeks have involved having their names up in lights half way across the globe at some of the biggest junior golf events in the world.
Ten-year old Karl Vilips started his surge through the worldwide junior ranks with an impressive win at the San Diego Junior Masters in the 9-10 year old boy’s division, hosted at Carlton Oaks County Club. Vilips shot rounds of 66 and 71 in the two-round tournament to finish tied 7-under the card with American Carson Levit before going on to win the playoff.
Vilips continued his red hot form last week, also winning the prestigious Callaway Junior World Golf Championship in the 9-10 year old boy’s division, held at Welk Resort San Diego Fountains Executive Course. Having shot an opening round of 1-under par 59, the young Victorian fell down the leaderboard in the second round with a 4-over par 64. Trailing the leaders, Vilips was back to his very best in the third and final round, shooting another 1-under par 59 to take out the tournament by three strokes in what is widely regarded as the pinnacle junior golf event in the world.
Julienne Soo was also a winner at the San Diego Junior Masters in the 15-18 year old girl’s division, having won a three-way playoff at the Sycuan Resort Oak Glen Course. Soo shot the low round score of the tournament in the opening day with a 3-under par 69 before holding on for an eventual playoff appearance with a 5-over par 77 in the second and final round. Soo also found her rhythm in the final round of the Callaway Junior World Golf Championship with a 68 to finish 11th overall last week.
The notable string of Victorian results continued with national squad member Su Hyun Oh finishing runner-up in the 15-17 year old girl’s division at the Callaway Junior World Golf Championship on the North Course at the famous Torrey Pines course in California. Oh finished with rounds of 74-70-72-71, seven shots behind winner Benyapa Niphatsophon from Thailand. Oh builds on an impressive year to date after taking out the Australian Junior title in Queensland earlier in the year.
In the 13-14 year old boy’s division, youngster Ryan Ruffles had two weeks to remember, placing second at the San Diego Junior Masters with 10-under the card, just two shots behind winner Yash Majmudar from Singapore. Ruffles shot scores of 69 and 65. His final round 65 was the low score of the day. It was a two-horse race between Ruffles and Majmudar with third place way back at 1-under par. In the Junior World’s, Ruffles was again in contention for the coveted prize, placing in a tie for 8th at 2-under par with scores of 71-75-65.
Rounding out the results was DJ Loypur who finished tied for 6th in the boy’s 15-18 year-old division at the San Diego Junior Masters, played at Carlton Oaks Country Club. Loypur matched it with the world’s best in his age group, shooting rounds of 70 and 75 to finish 1-over the card.
Stuart Appleby Junior Golf Manager, Ashley Marshall, spoke about the achievements of the future stars who have been regular participants in SAJG events.
“Karl has continued to return scores that belie his age in many SAJG tournaments and his success has continued abroad. Su continues to perform at the highest level and has established herself now as one of the premier female amateurs in the world. It has been a pleasure to see her game and her personality develop over her years of junior golf.
“Both Julienne, Ryan and DJ have shown that they are outstanding talents, capable on any course of shooting low scores,” said Marshall.
All five young guns will continue to contest junior golf tournaments in Victoria during the second half of the year.