Vilips, Laisne lead Junior Orange Bowl Divisions
Karl Vilips <br>(AJGA Photo)
Karl Vilips
(AJGA Photo)

CORAL GABLES, FL (December 27, 2016) -- Under sunny South Florida skies on a relatively windless day at Biltmore Golf Course, 23 players carded par or better, the Junior Orange Bowl International Boys Division led by Australia’s Karl Vilips with a 6-under par 65.

France’s Agathe Laisne leads the Girls, her 4- under 67 a stroke ahead of a second-place tie between Somi Lee from South Korea and Canada’s Monet Chun, Mexico’s Ana Laura Collado in close pursuit on 69.

Of the two previous Boys champions in the field, the 2014 winner, Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, posted 67 for outright second place, outdueling defending champion, Norwegian Kristoffer Reitan, who returned a 1-under par 70.

“He makes it look easy,” one of Vilips playing companions quipped, and the 15-year old who originally hails from Perth, Australia but is now being schooled in Wesley Chapel, Florida, confirmed it was, in fact, a relatively stress free round — with a couple of good breaks.

“I eagled the first hole, the par five, and on the back-nine I holed a 60-degree wedge for another (eagle) three at the 15th,” Vilips said. “So for the most part there was no real pressure. But a couple of strokes did get away. I was 60 yards from the green with my drive at the 7th but over-flew the green and made bogey. And on the 17th, I thought there was some break on a very short putt that I lipped out.”

Neimann, now 18 and considerably longer from the tee than when he won the title two years ago, considered the course played easy, less wind than usual and mostly soft pin positions. “It was good to get off to this sort of start,” he commented. “I expect it will get tougher as the week goes on.” Asked if he viewed this year as a challenge of champions, the young Chilean said, “Mostly I want this week to be fun. Of course, it would be more fun to win again.”

Last year Agathe Laisne posted even-par four- day total of 284 for a share of second place. This time around, as a taller, more powerful striker, the 17-year old from Boulogne has eyes on the main prize.

Starting from 10th tee, she birdied four of her first six holes, a card with just one bogey all day. “I putted in from off the green for an opening birdie and holed a sand shot on my 4th hole,” she said, “and my only bogey was at the 18th, my 9th, where I drove into a fairway bunker.”

In his record-tying 5th consecutive JOBI appearance, Providence, Rhode Island’s Will Dickson scored an ever-par 71.

Editors Note: Story courtesy of Junior Orange Bowl

ABOUT THE Junior Orange Bowl

72-hole invitation-only event. Players must not have reached their 19th birthday by the end of the tournament and must not be participating on a College/University team. The field is limited to a maximum of 72 Boys and 42 girls representing US and Foreign Countries. There are no age categories and there is no cut during the Championship. Invitations are sent out in mid- September. The tournament's alumni list includes current professional players Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, and Lexi Thompson.

The golf tournament is just one of 15 competitions among The Junior Orange Bowl Festival. This volunteer-led, not-for-profit organization hosts athletic, academic, and cultural competitions that draw over 7,500 youth from Miami, the State of Florida, across the United States, and over 76 countries worldwide to compete. The annual marquee event rounding out each festival season is the Junior Orange Bowl Parade, a community based youth parade that travels through the historic streets of Coral Gables featuring high school and college marching bands, floats and various youth and community groups attracting over 35,000 families, friends, and neighbors. It dates back to 1948.

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