Pinehurst Golf News Archive

Take Ten with Koala Karl, U.S. Kids World Champion Karl Vilips

TAKE TEN WITH U.S. KIDS

Name: Karl Vilips

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

Age: 10

“Koala” Karl Vilips, on the practice range at Pinehurst Resort. Note the “Koala Karl” logo image on his sleeve.

Karl Vilips is a big name in the world of Kids competitive golf. Already this year he has won the San Diego Junior Masters and the Callaway Junior World Championship in his age division. He considers winning his 10-year-old age group at the U.S. Kids another major championship and would give him “The Trifecta,” this year. Vilips won the 7- and 9-year-old division at U.S. Kids World in 2009 and 2011, respectively. He’s nicknamed Koala Karl, has his own YouTube channel and website, and even has a Facebook fans page. Karl can be seen practicing around Pinehurst Resort this week in preparation for the U.S. Kids World Championship, which is hosted by Pinehurst.

What is your earliest golf memory? “I got my first set of plastic golf clubs for Christmas in 2002. I was 1.”

Who is your favorite golfer and why? Bubba Watson, because he’s the most adventurous and likes to have fun with his golf swing. And I love that he won The Masters.

What do you know about Pinehurst? “I know there are 8 really good golf courses here and that most of them were designed by Donald Ross, who was pretty important.” About No. 2: “I’ve played nine holes of it. That was in 2009.”

What is your dream foursome? “Me, Bubba Watson, Luke Donald and Ernie Els.”

My best talent outside of golf is… Running

Nickname? Koala Karl

Favorite website? YouTube

Favorite club? “Driver, because I get to hit it far.”

Favorite TV show? Fairly Oddparents

Favorite athlete outside of golf? Adam Gilchrist, cricket player.

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Battling Pinehurst and dyslexia with grace, Lucas shares lead at 110th North and South Amateur

Diagnosed with dyslexia at 16, Illinois grad and 2-time Academic All-American puts together tidy 3-under 69

BY ALEX PODLOGAR

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Her playing partners Kyle Roig and Ayaka Nakayama were still seated at the scorer’s table, several minutes after they had finished the second round of the 110th North and South Women’s Amateur.

Not to be rushed, Nora Lucas took her time, carefully going over her scorecard with her caddie Jon Klein. They meticulously went over the numbers, then went over them again. And again.

“I’ve signed a ton of incorrect scorecards in my life,” Lucas said. “I’m not good with numbers.”

And she will tell you she’s not good with reading, either. Diagnosed as a dyslexic at 16, the graduate of the University of Illinois has struggled with the learning disability for as long as she can remember.

“It’s a pretty severe case of dyslexia, unfortunately,” she said, “but we all have our issues to deal with. Now the role I’m playing is to tell kids who are like me you can still be successful. You can still do well in school. It might take you a little bit longer, but you’re still just as smart as everyone else. It’s just a different way of learning.”

It’s a tough road, no doubt. But she’s making golf look easy.

A native of Glenview, Ill., and diehard Chicago Cubs fan, Lucas carded one of the best rounds of Amateur on Wednesday, finishing a bogey-free round of 3-under 69 to move to 4 under and the top of the leaderboard on the second day of stroke pay at Pinehurst No. 8.

And golf’s a welcome respite for Lucas, who will work as a researcher this year at the University of Chicago while she prepares for law school. A double major in History and English while at Illinois, the two-time Academic All-American has always found solace on the links, even at the difficult 6,546-yard Pinehurst No. 8.

“Golf is something that obviously doesn’t involve numbers or reading,” she says with a laugh. “I don’t have to read anything, screw up the words or something.”

A walk-on at Illinois before earning a scholarship as a sophomore, Lucas wasn’t heavily recruited coming out of high school and was never anywhere near the phenom first-round lead leader Jaye Marie Green is. But the perseverance from dealing with her learning disability had an added effect on her maturation as a golfer.

“I’d try so hard and still get B’s, and I thought that’s how it was for everybody,” Lucas said of high school. “But I think that taught me a lot, especially with golf. If you really work hard at something, even with a disability, you can still compete at the highest level no matter what’s going on.”

And now she’s competing with several of the best amateurs in the world. Everything was right in line on Wednesday as Lucas opened her round on the back nine and carded two birdies on 13 and 14 before a string of eight pars. She then birdied the par-3 5th hole – her 14th of the day – before closing with four more pars.

Some of those pars were hard to come by, but with a red-hot putter, Lucas managed to salvage a few strokes with par saves from 10 and 20 feet.

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Teenage Phenoms – And Friends – Set The Pace At 110th North And South Women’s Amateur

Teenage Phenoms – And Friends – Set The Pace At 110th North And South Women’s Amateur

Florida’s Jaye Marie Green enjoys best round of the day with 3-under 69

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – You could hear them laugh on the fairway and see them smile on the greens.

Jaye Marie Green and Moriya Jutanugarn, two teenagers from the junior golf hotbed of Florida, are gunning for the same prize – to win the prestigious 110th North and South Amateur at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club.

You would think that would make them adversaries on the golf course. But if they are, it’s certainly hard to tell.

Partnered in the same group as 2011 North and South runner-up Doris Chen, the duo was right where they expected to be — among the class of the field. The 18-year-old Green led the way with a 3-under 69 on the 6,563-yard Pinehurst No. 8 at the amateur championship’s first round of stroke play on Tuesday, clipping Jutanugarn and fellow Florida teen Kailey Walsh by one shot.

“It’s fun to play golf when you play with someone like Moriya,” said Green, who won the 2011 South Atlantic Amateur – almost a year to the day before 17-year-old Jutanugarn won it. “I see her every tournament, and it’s great because we can, you know, talk. It’s not, ‘So, where are you from?’ We can talk for real.”

They can play, too.

On a day when just seven players managed to break par, Green, who has played in both the U.S. Open and the Kraft Nabisco Championship this year, was solid from start to finish, opening with two birdies in her first six holes. Green stumbled with a bogey on the par-5 sixth, her 15th hole of the day, but closed with a birdie on the 9th for the low round of the day.

Jutanugarn, who made the cut at the 2011 U.S. Open and again qualified for the major championship this year, opened with eight straight pars before a bogey on the par-4 18th, but rallied with three birdies in her first five holes after making the turn. Shaking off a 1-hour, 22-minute weather delay, Jutanugarn finished with four straight pars for a tidy 70.

“From tee to green, I hit the ball well, though I struggled a bit on the greens,” said Jutanugarn, who’s a native of Bangkok, Thailand. “My putter was close, but I just couldn’t get a lot to go in.”

The two will be grouped again with Chen, who shot 2-over 74, on Wednesday morning. They will tee off at 8:06 a.m.

Walsh had four birdies to come in at 2 under as well, working around two bogeys on the front side to move within one of the lead.

“It was tough out there in the heat,” said Walsh, who played her afternoon round as the heat index soared to 104. “You really had to keep your head down and just play. It was hard to keep focused.”

The tournament will feature three rounds of stroke play at the Centennial Course, with the top 60 and ties advancing to Thursday’s third round. The top 16 will then advance to match play, which will be played on Friday and Saturday on famed Pinehurst No. 2.

Haley Stephens, of Greer, S.C., and a rising senior at Texas, led a group of four players at 1 under after a solid morning round. Stephens said she believes her maturity enabled her to record one of the few under par rounds.

“The greens are good-sized,” Stephens said. “If you hit them in the center, you’re only going to have a 20-to-25-footer. And if you get the speed down, you’re fine. And then a couple of those will drop and if not, you have tap-in pars, so you’re fine. I think a lot of people, especially young players, they tend to get greedy, and they go for it. And if you’re off four or five paces from the edge, you’re chipping from the rough. I think that’s just the maturity of me as a golfer.”

Stephens got off to a hot start, making birdie on three of the first five holes. She bookended her back nine with bogeys on 10 and 18 to finish at 71, but was pleased to stay within her strategy of conservative play.

“The pin locations were set up to play smart, and I think that’s where I excel,” she said. “I’m not scared to go for the center of the green, get two putts and get out of there. And I was fortunate enough for a couple of them to go in.

 “You definitely have to take your medicine and not go after every pin. That’s definitely going to be my strategy for the whole week.”

England’s Holly Clyburn, one of the top players in the field and a key member of the Curtis Cup-winning team in June, made a triple-bogey 8 on the par-5 second hole, but came back with six birdies to salvage a round of even-par 72 with three others. Despite the ups and downs, she was pleased.

“I’d take three rounds of even par and go to No. 2,” Clyburn said. “I think that’s straight up there and not far away (of qualifying for match play.)”

That said, count Clyburn as one of those not surprised by Green’s round.

“Out there is under par,” Clyburn said. “I had an 8 and shot level par. I had six birdies, so it’s not like you cannot shot under par. You can. Hit fairways and greens; that’s all you have to do. And hole a couple of putts. But I’d take three rounds of level and go to match play and start fresh.”

Ellen Port, at 50 years old the eldest player in the field, shot 2-over 74.

Two years after the Men’s North and South Amateur Championship began in 1900, the women’s championship was born and now celebrates its 110th year.  It has become one of the most sought after women’s amateur titles and routinely displays the talents of players who are seen competing on the LPGA.

Its champions are among the legends of the game: Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Peggy Kirk, Hollis Stacey, Donna Andrews, Brandie Burton, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.

“Pinehurst has been a bastion of amateur golf for over a century,” said Pinehurst President Don Padgett. “It is amateur golf at its best.”

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Name Pinehurst Resort’s new putting course — and win!

Pinehurst Resort’s new putting course is currently under construction and set to open in September. But it needs a name. And that’s where you come in.

While the restoration of famed Pinehurst No. 2 continues to grab the headlines as the clock counts down to the historic back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2014, everyone who has played at Pinehurst knows the legendary locale’s true identity stems from Donald Ross’ iconic turtleback greens.

At times those greens can be harrowing, but Pinehurst Resort has forged a new way to make them fun. Near the first tee to Pinehurst No. 4, a new putting course is currently under construction. Due to open in September, the extreme putting course will feature nine holes of mind-bending journeys designed to entertain everyone in the family, from the golfing beginner to the scratch player and everyone in between.

While the course will have hills, swales, bumps and valleys, what it doesn’t have yet is a name.

And that’s where you come in.

Pinehurst Resort is taking suggestions for the name of its newest feature. The best names will be selected and added to a poll that will appear on Facebook. If your suggestion wins, you will receive a $100 gift card from Pinehurst Resort.

Get those nominations in now by emailing them to alex.podlogar@pinehurst.com. The deadline is July 23.

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The 112th North & South Amateur Championship — In Video

Congrats again to Peter Williamson for winning the 112th North and South Championship, etching his name among the greats to have ever played the game of golf and won the prestigious amateur tournament.

Pinehurst Resort was your home for the best coverage of the event, and also included several player interviews following each day of play. What follows is your one-stop shop for all of the videos covering the 112th North and South Amateur, including the trophy ceremony.

Interview with Champion Peter Williamson

David Erdy, Following Friday’s match play quarterfinal

Peter Williamson, after winning medalist honors at Pinehurst No. 8

Peter Williamson, following the second round of stroke play

Michael Cromie, following the second round of stroke play

Thomas Bradshaw, following the first round of stroke play

Josh Eure, following he first round of stroke play

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