Karl Vilips, Youngin Chun win AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic

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Karl Vilips, Youngin Chun win AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic

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Karl Vilips, Youngin Chun win AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic

The AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic may have changed dates and formats, but it still produced a pair of worthy champions.

Karl Vilips and Youngin Chun scored big victories Friday at The Ridge at Back Brook, as the pair won their divisions of the Polo, with Vilips topping the boys and Chun beating out all the other girls.

The Polo took place in November last year, with a combination stroke play-match play format. The 2017 version was 72 holes of stroke play in June.

Vilips and Chun took advantage.

Vilips, a 2020 Stanford commit, began the final round in Ringoes, N.J., with a seven-shot lead and while his closing 1-over 73 was his highest round of the week, it was more than enough to get the job done. The Australian fired an 8-under 280 total to beat out Prescott Butler by four shots. Vilips opened the week in 68 and was a wire-to-wire winner.

In last year’s Polo, Vilips actually held the first-round lead in stroke-play qualifying and would tie for second in that portion. But he was then upset in the opening round of match play. Straight stroke play proved more beneficial in this tournament for the Aussie.

Vilips, the top-ranked junior in his class, entered the week coming off a runner-up finish at the Western Junior Championship. He had actually finished top 10 in his last four junior starts.

While the Aussie hadn’t won in 2017 until this week, he did capture the Junior Orange Bowl International in December.

Regardless, it’s another victory to Vilips’ already burgeoning resume.

“This win feels great,” Vilips told the AJGA. “Coming in, I knew I still had to play my game and that was my mentality all day. This is my first win this year. It means a lot because everything is starting to fall into place and all of my hard work is paying off.”

Chun, meanwhile, had to make up a two-shot deficit in the final round. The Gainesville, Fla., product trailed Jennifer Chang and Gina Kim but posted a closing 1-under 71 to finish the week at 3 under and post a two-shot win.

This victory, Chun’s fifth on the AJGA, is a bit of redemption. The 2018 prospect, ranked seventh in her class by Golfweek, lost in the final at this event last year.

This time around, it was a finish of a spot higher in the simpler stroke-play format.

Chun, who already won this year in April at the Callaway Golf Junior Classic and now has six top 10s overall in 2017, astutely noted that the Polo may be her highest-performing event.

“Polo seems to be my best tournament after my second-place finish last year and now finishing with the win”, Chun said. “I am thankful for this awesome course, the great volunteers and this tournament.”

Cole Hammer closed the week in 77 to drop from second to a tie for 15th on the boys side.

Chang finished runner-up for the girls while Kim fell into a tie for fourth.

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