Date: July 20, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Vilips runs into US Boys’ buzzsaw

Some days, as Karl Vilips learnt today, just aren’t meant to be yours.

Vilips, the Florida-based Australian who recently spent a week atop the AJGA rankings, bowed out of the US Boys’ Amateur today at the hand of red-hot American Thomas Ponder.

It was a credit to Vilips, who has spent much of his golfing life in Victoria, that he managed to reach the 17th green before eventually succumbing 3&1 in the Round of 32 at famous Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey.

Ponder, of Alabama, even with a bogey on the fourth hole of the Upper Course, was five under when he birdied the 17th to ensure victory.

Vilips, who had been third seed after two great qualifying rounds, was no slouch himself at even par, but simply couldn’t counter Ponder’s brilliance which began with two consecutive birdies and rarely let up.

“That front side just didn't go the way I planned,” Vilips said.

“I was 2-down through nine and I was only one over.

“I tried turn things around on the back. I did for a little bit – birdied 11, made a great par on 12 – and then he made the 30-footer (for birdie) on 13.

“I just couldn't get back in it after that.

He shot five under on his own ball … that will win every match out here.

“Considering I shot even (par) on my own ball, that would win most matches out here, too.

“It’s just a tough break with the draw.”

Vilips, 16 and already a veteran of the first Junior Presidents Cup last year, said he had learnt much from his first US Boys’ Junior tilt.

“It's good to learn to never underestimate your opponent. I had people telling me things about Thomas before the round, and I just tried to block it all out and tried to treat him the

Same,” Vilips mused.

“I did and he surprised me. I'll give him that.

“I think it's also good to get the experience of just match play … you don't really play many tournaments with individual matches.”

Vilips’ loss brought Australia’s participation to an end after Jed Morgan’s loss in the Round of 64 and Terry Yoon missing the stroke play cut.