By MATT HARNESS
GLENVIEW, Ill. (July 27, 2021) – Karl Vilips, of Perth, Australia, played a bogey-free round to post 5-under 65 and sit alone atop the leaderboard after the first round at the 119th Western Amateur at Glen View Club on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old Vilips, who played at Stanford as a freshman, leads a collection of seven players by one stroke. His five-birdie performance marked his return to the Western Amateur after missing last year’s event at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana, with a broken ring finger on his left hand.
Vilips was 14 when he made his Western Amateur debut in 2016 at Knollwood Club in Lake Forest, Illinois. This is his fifth appearance, and he qualified for the Sweet 16 in 2019 at Point O’ Woods Golf and Country Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
“I really like this event, and it was frustrating to not play last year,” Vilips said. “It’s always a great field, and I’m usually peaking around this time of year.”
Southern Methodist senior Ollie Osborne, of Reno, Nevada, made eight birdies on his way to shooting 66 on the 6,928-yard course. Tennessee junior Bryce Lewis, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, totaled five birdies and an eagle, while Oklahoma State junior Brian Stark, of Kingsburg, California, made four birdies and an eagle, on the par-4 12th.
Texas junior Mason Nome, of Houston, Texas, wasn’t as electric, but he got in at 66 with five birdies and one bogey.
“The big thing was discipline,” he said. “The pins were tucked and in incredibly difficult places. You have to take your medicine and be smart out there. Putting yourself in position off the tee is important. You will have a lot of wedges and can score.”
A total of 54 players broke par, and another 20 finished at even. The field will be cut to the low 44 and ties after Wednesday’s second round.
Defending champion and Texas senior Pierceson Coody, of Plano, Texas, is in good shape after shooting 67. He had five birdies and two bogeys. Coody is one of three former champions in the field, including 2019 winner Garrett Rank, of Ontario, Canada, and 2018 winner Cole Hammer, of Houston, Texas. Coody and Hammer are teammates at Texas.
“There are a little more expectations this year,” Coody said. “But I’ve handled it well so far. My goal is to make it to match play and see if I can give it another run.”
Coody’s twin brother, Texas senior Parker Coody, shot 66. Pierceson Coody wasn’t mad about a one-stroke loss early in the week.
“That’s awesome,” he said. “Dinner will be a lot more fun tonight.”
First played at Glen View Club in 1899, the Western Amateur is the world’s third oldest amateur championship, behind the British Amateur (1855) and the U.S. Amateur (1895). It regularly attracts the top players from across the country and around the world, with past champions like Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
A combination of stroke play and match play competition make the Western Amateur one of the most demanding events in golf. The international field of 156 players will compete in 72 holes of stroke play over three days to determine the Sweet 16 for match play.
This year, the match play competition will be streamed live on Golf Channel’s digital platforms, with more than 12 hours of coverage on Friday, July 30, and Saturday, July 31. Powered by WGA proud partners BMW and Peter Millar, the stream will be available on GolfChannel.com and thewesternamateur.com, with replays on the Peacock streaming service and golfpass.com.
Attendance and parking at the Western Amateur are free.
For the full leaderboard, click here.
For second round tee times, click here.
- Two former Western Junior champions are in the field. Piercen Hunt, of Hartland, Wisconsin/Canada, the 2019 winner, shot 69. William Mouw, of Chino, California, the 2017 winner, opened with 71.
- Mouw is one of four Pepperdine players in the field who helped the Waves to the NCAA national title. Joey Vrzich, of La Jolla, California, shot 68; Joe Highsmith, of Lakewood, Washington, finished with 69; and Dylan Menante, of Carlsbad, California, carded 72.
- Pierceson Coody, Hammer and Mouw reunited with 2021 U.S. Walker Cup teammates Ricky Castillo, of Yorba Linda, California, and Stewart Hagestad, of Newport Beach, California, at Glen View Club. Castillo and Hagestad both opened with 68s.
- Coody and Castillo are two of 10 players in the 2021 field who made the Sweet 16 last year. Runner-up Rasmus Neergaared-Petersen, of Copenhagen, Denmark, started the tournament with 68.
- Loyola (Illinois) junior Timmy Crawford, of Arlington, Heights, Illinois, shot 68 and fared the best of the seven players who qualified for the Western Amateur on Sunday at The Glen Club in Glenview, Illinois. Jon Neuheisel, of Scottsdale, Arizona, posted 69, and Jason Li, of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, finished with 70.