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Karl Vilips takes early lead at Master of the Amateurs

Royal Melbourne's iconic 5th hole (Photo: Bruce Young)
15 year old US based Australian, Karl Vilips, gave us all a reminder of just what a prodigious young talent he is when he reeled off an opening round of 68 to lead the increasingly prestigious Master of the Amateurs at Royal Melbourne today.

Vilips, who has spent much of the last few years at high school in the US where his game has developed to the point that he last week won the Orange Bowl International Championship at the Biltmore Golf Course in Coral Gables in Florida, to add to other events he has won in the US.

Amongst those wins was victory in the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships in San Diego in 2012 and 2013, his feats, to a large extent, having gone unnoticed here in Australia.

On a breezy Royal Melbourne layout Vilips took a while to get his round moving forward today and made the turn in even par but birdies at his 11th, 12th, 13th and 18th holes saw him finish one shot ahead of Sydney’s James Grierson and last year’s 3rd place finisher Charlie Dann of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

The leading world ranked player in the field, Scott Gregory of Scotland made a horror start when he opened with a round of 81 and Sydney’s Harrison Endycott, the leading world ranked Australian, struggled to an opening round of 80.

The event is being played over 72 holes and previous winners have included the likes of Jason Day, Brendan Jones, Nathan Holman and Ashley Hall.  

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