Karl Vilips during round of 32 in Pinehurst. Image: USGA / Chris Keane
Karl Vilips has shot lower scores, but may never have played as well as he did today in the quarter-finals of the American amateur.
Vilips, who confronted Brad Dalke – the man who played so hard against the eventual champion Curtis Luck in the 2016 final of this event – was a notable five under par when the pair shook hands with the 17th green.
And although that batting score would not have done one iota in an astonishing 3 & 1 win over Dalke, who probably played his last league round as an amateur, it is extremely important in other ways.
Host course Pinehurst No. 2 played a batting average of 77.04 during the first two days of qualifying this week, including Vilips & # 39; own seven-over-par 77 on day one.
History will show that Western Australia, based in Western Australia, duly left the next day to record an equal course record 65 on nearby runway No. 4 to reach the match play phase.
But no matter how difficult that course was and is, it is nothing compared to his illustrious neighbor.
Vilips, on the eve of his 18th birthday, attacked Dalke early and, after winning the first with a par, rode the short par-four third green with an excellent high cut.
After admitting Dalke's little bird, the 2016 Olympic Youth Champion has embedded a 15-meter-long eagle pit that apparently needed an eternity to run down a steep hill and fall into the middle.
From that public-rocking point, Vilips was mentally bulletproof in getting on track to shave what would probably have been close to 12 shots from his Monday scoreline on the same legendary course.
"I just had about 50 feet or something at the bottom of that hill, downgrain, and I was just trying to walk within one foot," Vilips said about his eagle, his second this week after a hole-in-one during a practice round on the No.4 course.
"And it never really left its line, rolled end to end and had perfect speed.
"But if that was missing even at perfect speed, it would still be 3-4 feet past the hole.
"But that was probably one of the best shots of the day."
Which really says something, given the selection he offered, including in his earlier 3 & 1 win over Steven Fisk number 11 in the round of 32.
"You just have to play well, make the shots you need and don't give them breathing space because they are such good players," Vilips said.
"If they see that you are in the pit and you feel bad about a few shots that you have taken, they can use it. So I just have to stay positive and not let my emotions come to me.
"(But Brad) was definitely my most difficult game this week. I was five under with no bogeys and he just ground it, made a few birdies or made pars, and I just did the same as the previous two games; get up early in the match and never lose the lead.
"It was definitely my most stressful game there is. We just played golf very well."
Vilips, who played his third American amateur, said he was a much more complete player this time.
"My first US Ams, I really didn't think I could make matchplay like 14, 15, and just didn't have much confidence," he said.
"But this week after the hot tournaments this summer so far, I really felt that I could do it.
"I feel that I have changed a lot regarding the mentality on the way to a competitive game. (In) line play (this week), I was eight out of ten, so I was just able to fight back (while) eight more than ten two years ago, I would probably have just thrown in the towel. "
Vilips paid tribute to his upbringing at Australian courses for his wealth at Pinehurst.
"Growing up a little at the Melbourne Sandbelt certainly prepares you for a course like this – sturdy greens, fast greens, lots of fall-offs. It reminds me of Royal Melbourne.
"Most players (here) come from the (United) States, so it takes a while to adjust, but I think it's an advantage because I already know how they will respond.
"I used to play a lot here. But when I'm there on that Sand Belt, it's something like that, so it certainly prepared me well."
Earlier in the day, another US-based Aussie, Jack Trent, went to 21 holes before having his US Amateur tilt end in the round of 32.
Queenslander Trent, a UNLV student in Nevada, bobbed back and forth with Alex Fitzpatrick in another high-class collision, but the Englishman drilled a 5m birdie on the third hole of overtime before politely apologizing to the Aussie.
Vilips, the only non-American left in the field, faces William Holcomb V for a place in the semi-final. Their game starts at 3:15 pm local time (3:15 pm Perth tonight).