Vilips takes early lead at North and South Amateur

Adopted Western Australian, Karl Vilips, has continued his solid form on the US amateur circuit taking a share of the lead on day one of the North & South Amateur at the challenging Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.

Vilips opened his account with three consecutive bogeys before clawing his way back with three straight birdies from the 7th hole to make the turn at even par.

“Karl Karl Vilips (Credit: Pinehurst/John Patota)

From there the 19-year-old racked up another five birdies including four in a row from the 15th hole to close the day at 5-under 65 and in a three-way tie for the lead alongside Americans Zack Gordon and Christian Banke.

“I’ve had some rough starts recently, but I’ve learned the day doesn’t tend to stay like that for the entire round,” Vilips told Pinehurst’s Alex Podlogar.

“For some reason, my game and Pinehurst just seem to get along. There’s not a lot of trouble off the tee, and my ball always seems to be very generous to me when it misses. I always seem to have a shot. I guess the course and I like each other very much.”

Next best of the Australians was Connor McKinney, who sits in a share of 5th place at 3-under.

Best mates Louis Dobbelaar, who won the recent Dogwood Invitational, and Jed Morgan are another stroke back in equal 10th. The Queenslanders have known each other for most of their teenage years and have both won the Australian Amateur title with World No. 46 Dobbelaar the reigning champion.

Another Western Australian, Jordan Doull, rounded out the Australian field at even par and a tie for 24th. Doull is currently studying at Columbia State in Georgia.

The low 32 players following two rounds of stroke play will move through to the matchplay section of the tournament with the Round of 32 played on Thursday (US time), the Round of 16 and quarterfinals on Friday and the semifinals and championship matches on Saturday.