Armbrust, Vilips share early lead

SKOKIE, Ill. (Tuesday, June 20) – Two players share the lead at 4 under after Tuesday’s first round of the 101st Western Junior at Evanston Golf Club. 

Luke Armbrust, of Wheaton, Illinois, and Karl Vilips, of Perth, Australia, each shot 66 and hold a one-stroke advantage over Cameron Frazier, of Cincinnati, Ohio, who finished with 67. The three were among 18 players who broke par on the Donald Ross design.

Last year’s runner-up, Vilips carded six birdies and two bogeys.

“It wasn’t bad,” he said. “There definitely could have been more birdies out there. I just played solid golf.”

Vilips, the No. 1 player in the AJGA Rolex Rankings and a Stanford verbal commit, got as low as 5 under following back-to-back birdies at Nos. 13-14, but he hit his tee shot on the par-4 18th into the grassy bank above the left fairway bunker that resulted in a bogey.

“I wanted to shoot a little lower [Tuesday],” Vilips said. “I struck it probably six out of 10. If I can get my ball-striking up a bit, I can go a little bit lower. But I understand it will be tougher in the afternoon [Wednesday].”

In the afternoon wave Tuesday, Armbrust, an incoming freshman at Illinois, reached 5 under after a stretch of five birdies over eight holes. He gave a shot back with a 3-putt bogey on the par-3 17th, his second-to-last hole.

“If I posted a good score, it would be from hitting fairways and greens and giving myself opportunities,” Armbrust said.

In one of the last groups of the day, Frazier found himself at 4 under following an eagle at the par-5 13th. The Wisconsin-bound Frazier made four consecutive pars until a bogey at No. 18 dropped him out of the lead.

Six players are tied for fourth at 2 under, and nine are at 1 under.

Defending champion and Pepperdine commit William Mouw, of Chino, Californina, posted a 1-over 71.

- Matt Harness/WGA