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Vilips, Lee continue to lead Junior Orange Bowl
Karl Vilips <br>(AJGA Photo)
Karl Vilips
(AJGA Photo)

CORAL GABLES, FL (December 29, 2016) -- With 18-holes to play in the Junior Orange Bowl International, Australia’s Karl Vilips, the overnight leader, retained the tournament lead by a single stroke in the Boys Division, closely pressed by defending champion Kristoffer Reitan.

The 18-year old Norwegian vaulted from nine shots behind at the halfway stage with an 8-under par 63, setting a new championship record at this famed Donald Ross Biltmore Hotel course.

In the Girls Division, South Korea’s Somi Lee posted a second consecutive 69, her three-day total of 7-under par extending the lead to five over France’s Agathe Laisne and Canada’s Monet Chun.

Sweden’s Lynn Grant, 17, winner of last week’s Doral-Publix Junior Classic, had a dream start, after par to start, a hole-in-one, then birdie, birdie, birdie – five under in four holes. Grant finished with 69, in 5th place, one behind Mexico’s Ana Laura Collado.

“I always plan to go out and shoot low rounds, but of course it doesn’t happen so often,” Reitan commented after his eagle-plus-seven-birdies round. “Once I got off to a fast start, I tried hard to keep the momentum going because I knew Karl had been running away with the tournament and only a really low score would give me a chance to win.”

A three putt at the 15th seemed to have derailed his record-busting attempt but problem resolved when he holed out from 65-yards at the net hole for an eagle-2. “I came close to holing two other shots from the same distance earlier in the round, so I was very happy but not completely surprised when the ball went in the hole.”

“My driving was terrible on the front nine,” 15-year old Vilips said, who was three-over par for the front nine, but recovered nicely for an even-par round of 71 by birdieing four of his last five holes. “I was pulling everything left with the driver, but that’s a less bad thing on the back nine, so I just decided to stay with it, rather than try a fix mid-round. Luckily my putter came alive towards the end.”

France’s Edgar Catherine sits solo-third at 7-under, ruefully recalling a tugged drive at the 17th that found water, a dropped stroke that cost a share of second place. “Tomorrow I have a chance,” he said, “provided I can control my head game.”

Editors Note: Story courtesy of Junior Orange Bowl

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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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