Date: October 15, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Aussies still in mixed medal hunt

The Australians played well enough to push back into medal contention in the Youth Olympics mixed teams event in Argentina.

But one disastrous hole in the foursomes format put paid to an otherwise exceptional round by Grace Kim and Karl Vilips, both individual gold medallists last week.

Starting at five under but chasing down some incredibly low fourball scores from day one, Kim and Vilips managed to combine for six birdies in the alternate shot format.

But a triple-bogey on the 14th proved costly as the Aussie team eventually signed for a meritorious one-over-par 71 to share eighth at four under overall.

The final total will be determined by adding two individual rounds tomorrow to achieve a four-round total at the Hurlingham Club in suburban Buenos Aires.

And the chase will be on in earnest for leader Thailand, with all-conquering prodigy Atthaya Thitikul and her partner Vanchai Luangnitikul at 12 under after rounds of 60-68.

First-round leader Italy sits second at 11 under after scores of 57-72, but with the United States third at eight under, the next six teams are all within a very manageable four shots of the medals.

Vilips, of Perth, said the team had played some "great golf other than that hiccup on 14".

"Foursomes is tough and then mixed is tougher (again) because you obviously don't play with your partner all the time," he said.

"We both had to play shots today that we haven't had to hit on this course yet, so everyone had to adjust and that's why the scores are a little higher today."

Kim, of Sydney, said learning the format's challenge was "tough", but that they were largely happy with where they sat before the final stroke play rounds.

"I just have to be comfortable with my own game and have no second thoughts on any shots," she said.

Vilips was still very upbeat about the team's medal prospects.

"We're just going to have to play the way we both played in the individual stroke play," he said.