Three West Aussies advance to match play at #USJuniorAm

17th Jul 2019

Four Aussies have reached the match play phase of the US Boys’ Amateur in Ohio.

Recently crowned Australian Junior champion Elvis Smylie continues to make progress and will be the lone “east coaster” left when the knockout stage begins tomorrow.

But there are three West Australians safely in the final 64, despite each of them not enjoying their best rounds during day two at the famous Inverness Club in Toledo today.

Overnight leader Karl Vilips, currently the top-ranked International player for Junior Presidents Cup selection at Royal Melbourne in December, carded a two-over-par 73 to drop back to even par overall.

But the Florida-based 17-year-old remains Australia’s top contender and will carry the No.10 seed into match play, despite a day he’d rather forget on the greens.

It was a rough day, probably one of the worst putting rounds I’ve had this year,” Vilips said.

Still, a top-10 seed is fine, but going into match play I’m definitely going to have to change a few things as far as putting because I’ll need to make more birdies.

I made one today, two yesterday. I think going into match play, I need to be slightly more aggressive and just work on the things that didn’t fire today.

Smylie, of the Gold Coast, should also theoretically benefit from a good ranking, his second-round 72 enough to finish at one over and earn the No.14 seeding.

Good friends and Joondalup clubmates Josh Greer and Connor McKinney reaped the benefits of good first rounds, enjoying the buffer they provided.

Greer, who played at No.2 for WA in the recent Interstate Series in Hobart, began nervously on day two and fell to four over through eight holes after a double-bogey on the par-four 17th.

But showing typical grit, he stayed calm and birdied the 18th hole and played the front nine in even par to fire a 74 and advance with the No.47 seed at six over.

McKinney, unlike Greer still representing his native Scotland, finished on the same score, despite having been just one off the lead after day one.

The former Australian Amateur medallist, who also started his round on the 10th, couldn’t find a birdie until the seventh (his 16th), by which time he was a precarious six over for his round.

He went on to bogey the closing two holes as well but advanced with the No.46 seed.

All four remaining Aussies are in the bottom half of the draw.

Despite improved second-round performances from Gold Coaster Terry Yoon (+14) and Melbourne’s Tony Chen (+11), neither could finish inside the eight over cut line needed to reach a playoff for the final match play berths that will be completed tomorrow.

Medallist honours were shared between William Moll, William Mouw and Ricky Castillo, who each finished at four under after 36 holes and will carry the top seedings into match play.