Karl Vilips takes AJGA Polo Junior lead with course record
Karl Vilips during day one at the AJGA Golf Junior <br>(AJGA Photo)
Karl Vilips during day one at the AJGA Golf Junior
(AJGA Photo)

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL (November 21, 2016) -- Karl Vilips set a scorching pace in the opening round of stroke play to post a new AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic record on the Fazio Course at PGA National Resort & Spa with a 7-under-par 65. The 15-year-old tallied four birdies and an eagle in an eight-hole stretch on the way to his bogey-free round. Youngin Chun topped a Girls Division field that competed on the Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa with a 3-under-par 69.

The Polo Golf Junior Classic features 156 of the top junior golfers in the world in stroke and match play. After 36 holes of stroke play, the top 32 players in the Boys and Girls Divisions will advance to match play to determine the champions.

Vilips’ round puts him in historic territory. In addition to setting a new mark on the Fazio Course, Vilips has placed himself in position to break the stroke play, two-day, Polo Golf Junior Classic record at PGA National Resort & Spa. The current two-day low in the Boys Division is a 6-under-par 137, set by Emiliano Grillo (2010) and Adam Wood (2011). Mariel Galdiano tied the low medalist score at PGA National Resort & Spa in the Girls Division last year with an 8-under-par 136, equaling Nicole Zhang’s total in 2009.

Vilips, a native of Wesley Chapel, Florida, is competing in his first Polo Golf Junior Classic after his first Invitational victory in June at the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational. The high school freshman was honored as a Rolex Junior All-American on Sunday and entered the Polo Golf Junior Classic at No. 20 in the Polo Golf Rankings.

One stroke back of Vilips is Ryan Gerard of Raleigh, North Carolina, the defending champion of the Polo Golf Junior Classic. Gerard’s 6-under-par 66 would have earned him the low round record on the Fazio Course until Vilips’ efforts. Gerard is seeking to add medalist honors to his impressive Polo Golf Junior Classic resume after finishing tied for fifth in stroke play last year. Four boys closed the first round in a tie for third at 4-under-par 68: Davis Shore of Knoxville, Tennessee; Joseph Pagdin of Orlando; John Pak of Scotch Plains, New Jersey; Trey Winstead of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Chun used a collection of birdies to take a one stroke lead in the Girls Division. After birdieing Nos. 1 and 2, the three-time Rolex Junior All-American added two more birdies on the front nine and two more on the back to reach a total of six, tied for most in the Girls Division on the day. Chun, a 16-year-old from Gainesville, Florida, advanced to the round of 16 at last year’s Polo Golf Junior Classic after earning the No. 10 seed.

Chun was followed closely by a three-way tie for second. Hye-Jin Choi of Gimhae-si, South Korea, Emilia Migliaccio of Cary, North Carolina, and Rose Zhang of Irvine, California each carded a 2-under-par 70 to sit one shot back of the lead.

Participants will enter the second round of stroke play seeking to join the long list of alumni to earn medalist honors at the Polo Golf Junior Classic. Some notable stroke-play medalists include Vicki Goetze, Ariya Jutanugarn, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

Second-round tee times will run from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at PGA National Resort & Spa. The Boys Division will play the Champion Course, and the Girls Division will take on the Fazio Course.

ABOUT THE Polo Junior Classic

One of the AJGA series of tournaments that require an invitation to participate. Format is 72 holes of stroke play, with a cut after 54 holes. Open to boys and girls aged 12-19.

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