Vilips leads cargo to Western Australia

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Karl Vilips has opened his 2019 American boy-amateur campaign with a bogey-free 69. Image: USGA

The powerhouse that is Western Australian golf was clear to everyone when the American boy amateur started in Ohio today.

Florida-born Perth ace Karl Vilips shares the lead after the first two-day qualification at the historic Inverness Club in Toledo.

And only one blow behind Vilips and Californiaan William Mouw in a seven-part share of the third is Connor McKinney who, while representing Scotland, is based in Mandurah, south of Perth.

Also at this time in the top 64 that will advance to match play at the end of day two is Josh Greer, whose three-over-par 74 left him in a 41st place share.

Also more than useful is recently awarded Australian Youth Champion Elvis Smylie who still impresses in a draw for 10th place after an even par 71.

Unfortunately, his colleague Gold Coaster Terry Yoon (80) and Melbourne & Tony 39 (77) will have to climb mountains tomorrow to reach the competition phase.

Vilips, 17, was the only player in the field of 156 players to play without bogey today, with an emphasis on his improved tournament maturity.

"You have to put it in the fairway of the tee," noted Vilips, No. 47 in the World Amateur Ranking and reached the Round of 32 in this event at Baltusrol last year.

"Every fairway I found, I was sitting against the lip. (But) I took my medicine in those holes and trusted my wiggame.

"In general, I got it right from tee to green and stuffed well."

Inverness Club, designed by Donald Ross, has organized four US Open championships and is hosting as a player, in particular, chasing its own history this week.

Reigning champion Michael Thorbjornsen, from Massachusetts, today played a 71 to sit next to Smylie while trying to join triple champion Tiger Woods (1991-93) as the only player to successfully defend this revered title.

All 156 participants received letters of congratulations and encouragements from American legends Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Woods who told the young field that he was "pretty happy in this event" and reminded players to enjoy the experience.

The first round was suspended twice for heavy weather for a total of one hour and 49 minutes.

SCOREBOARD

https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/championships/2019/u-s–junior-amateur.html#!scoringisure19459005]

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