Golf Australia

Aussie youngsters primed for US tilt

Karl Vilips

A strong West Australian contingent will shoulder Australia’s hopes into next week’s US Boys’ Amateur Championship in Ohio.

Five – and a half – Australians will take part in the premier event on the world junior calendar, headed by AJGA No.2-ranked Karl Vilips.

Vilips, based in Florida, will be joined by fellow West Australian Josh Greer and another Perth-based youngster, Connor McKinney, although the latter will represent his native Scotland.

Other Aussies in the field include Australian Junior champion Elvis Smylie, who has already played his way into December’s Australian Open in Sydney, and a pair of youngsters who carry fascinating names.

Smylie’s fellow Gold Coaster Seongyong Yoon is better known to his mates as Terry, while Camberwell Grammar graduate, Melbourne’s Kuangyu Chen, is known to his friends at his Florida base as Tony.

And while it is an eclectic bunch, they’ll all have one name in the back of their mind before they tee off in the stroke play phase at Toledo’s Inverness Club – that of Min Woo Lee.

Lee, also of Perth and who recently secured his European Tour card for 2020 in his first year as a professional, won this event three short years ago.

The event comprises 36 holes of stroke play on 15 and 16 July (US time), after which the 156-player field will be reduced to the low 64 scorers. There will be six rounds of match play starting the next day and ending with a 36-hole final on 20 July.

Vilips, who played at the inaugural Junior Presidents Cup in New Jersey two years ago, is the top-ranked player on the International team standings for this year’s event at Royal Melbourne in December and will start among the favourites next week.

Smylie, Yoon, Greer and McKinney have all enjoyed success in this format, too, so hopes are high that the chase to replicate Lee’s heroics will be a long-lasting one.

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