20 Jun 2024 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Vilips’ wild ride to pro debut

by Tony Webeck

Karl Vilips World Amateur Teams Championship
Karl Vilips will make his professional debut on the PGA TOUR Americas tour this week. Photo: Martin Dokoupil/Getty Images

Karl Vilips’ journey to his professional debut took an unexpected twist this week as he launches the next phase of his career at The Beachlands Victoria Open in Canada.

A recent graduate of Stanford University, Vilips closed out his college career with victory at the 2024 Pac-12 Men's Golf Championship in May.

That result helped Vilips to finish 10th in the PGA TOUR University ranking and earn conditional status on the Korn Ferry Tour and fully exempt status on the PGA TOUR of Americas.

A member of the Australian team that won silver at the World Amateur Teams Championship last October, Vilips had hoped to use his conditional Korn Ferry Tour status to qualify for this week’s Compliance Solutions Championship in Oklahoma.

As fellow Victorian Aiden Didone played his way into the field with a round of 4-under 68 at the Monday qualifier, Vilips set course for Canada after his round of 1-over 73.

The 22-year-old would soon discover, however, that the best laid plans are not guaranteed in the world of pro golf.

“I played the Monday qualifier for the Compliance tournament in Oklahoma, the Korn Ferry event,” Vilips told PGA TOUR of Americas.

“Didn’t close well, so I didn’t make it.

“Booked a flight out of Dallas, yesterday, mid-morning. So we drove the three hours from Norman to Dallas and got to the airport for an 11:30am flight. Didn’t end up taking off until about 7 so we had to change my flight to Victoria to a later one, which we barely made.

“Ended up getting to the hotel at about 11:35 to midnight and obviously didn’t get to sleep for a little bit.

“My bags didn’t come in, which was just another bonus to the travel day we had.

“I had to pick those up this morning. Was fortunate enough to get tournament organisers to shift my pro-am tee time around to the afternoon so I will be able to play the course and take a look at it.

“It’s been a hectic first week as a pro I would say.”

Vilips was Australia’s highest ranked player on the World Amateur Golf Ranking when he turned professional a fortnight ago.

A strong finish to his four-year stint at Stanford saw Vilips graduate from the amateur ranks No.12 in the world and ready to realise the promise he has displayed since his junior days.

The youngest competitor in Victorian pennant matches at just nine years of age for Southern Golf Club in 2011, Vilips was the gold medal winner at the 2018 Youth Olympics, a two-time Junior Presidents Cup representative and qualified for last year’s US Open.

He is among a host of star amateurs to recently move into the pro ranks including Maddison Hinson-Tolchard, Jye Pickin, Connor McDade, Jordan Doull and Blaike Perkins.

As Vilips makes his pro debut in Canada the eyes of the golf world will be largely trained on Sahalee Country Club in Washington for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

There are a total of eight Aussies in the field including 2019 champion Hannah Green, this week marking the end to the two-year Olympic qualification period for the women’s competition in Paris.

Round 1 tee times AEST

LPGA Tour KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Sahalee Country Club, Sammamish, Washington 12:05am* Robyn Choi 12:22am Stephanie Kyriacou 12:27am* Gabriela Ruffels 12:33am Grace Kim 1:11am* Hannah Green 6:17am Minjee Lee 6:39am Lydia Ko (NZ) 6:56am* Hira Naveed 7:12am Sarah Kemp

Defending champion: Ruoning Yin Past Aussie winners: Jan Stephenson (1982), Karrie Webb (2001), Hannah Green (2019) Prize money: $US10.4 million TV times: Live 6am-8am Friday on Fox Sports 505; Live 8am-12pm Friday on Fox Sports 503; Live 6am-8am Saturday on Fox Sports 505; Live 8am-12pm Saturday on Fox Sports 503; Live 5am-8am Sunday on Fox Sports 505; Live 8am-10am Sunday on Fox Sports 503; Live 4am-9am Monday on Fox Sports 505 and Kayo.

PGA TOUR Travelers Championship TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, Connecticut 12am Jason Day 1am Adam Scott 3:10am Cam Davis

Defending champion: Keegan Bradley Past Aussie winners: Greg Norman (1995), Marc Leishman (2012) Prize money: $US20 million TV times: Live 10pm-8am Thursday, Friday; Live 9:30pm-8am Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo.

DP World Tour KLM Open The International, Amsterdam, Netherlands 4pm Sam Jones (NZ) 5pm David Micheluzzi 5:10pm Haydn Barron 8:30pm Tom Power Horan 10pm Andrew Martin

Defending champion: Pablo Larrazabal Past Aussie winners: Jack Newton (1972), Graham Marsh (1979, 1985), Stephen Leaney (2000) Prize money: $US2.5 million TV times: Live 9pm-2am Thursday, Friday; Live 9:15pm-1:30am Saturday; Live 8:30pm-1:30am Sunday on Fox Sports 505 and Kayo.

Asian Tour Kolon Korea Open Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, Korea 7:52am Jack Thompson 9:20am* Wonjoon Lee 12:30pm* Kevin Yuan 12:52pm Junseok Lee 1:03pm Travis Smyth 1:25pm* Kevin Chun (NZ) 1:58pm Brendan Jones 2:20pm Todd Sinnott

Defending champion: Seungsu Han Past Aussie winners: Junseok Lee (2021) Prize money: KRW1.4 billion TV times: Live 2pm-6pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo.

LIV Golf LIV Golf Nashville The Grove, College Grove, Tennessee Australasians in the field: Cameron Smith, Matt Jones, Marc Leishman, Lucas Herbert, Danny Lee (NZ)

Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: $US20 million TV times: Live from 3:15am Saturday, Sunday, Monday on 7 Plus.

PGA TOUR Champions DICK’S Open En-Joie GC, Endicott, New York Australasians in the field: Steve Allan, David Bransdon, Greg Chalmers, Richard Green, Mark Hensby, Rod Pampling, Cameron Percy, John Senden, Vijay Singh, Michael Wright.

Defending champion: Padraig Harrington Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: $US2.1 million TV times: Live 2am-4am Saturday on Fox Sports 505; 10am-12pm Sunday on Fox Sports 503; 9am-11am Monday on Fox Sports 503 and Kayo.

Ladies European Tour Tipsport Czech Ladies Open Royal Beroun Golf Club, Czech Republic 3:56pm Kirsten Rudgeley 5:24pm Amy Walsh 5:24pm* Kelsey Bennett 8:41pm* Momoka Kobori (NZ) 8:52pm* Whitney Hillier

Defending champion: Diksha Dagar Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: €300,000

Korn Ferry Tour Compliance Solutions Championship Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club, Norman, Oklahoma 10:11pm* Brett Drewitt 10:33pm Steven Bowditch 10:55pm Rhein Gibson 12:12am* Aiden Didone 3:35am Tim Wilkinson (NZ) 3:46am Dimi Papadatos

Defending champion: Jimmy Stanger Past Aussie winners: Prize money: $US1 million

Challenge Tour Blot Open de Bretagne Golf Bluegreen de Pléneuf Val André, Pléneuf, France 10:20pm Hayden Hopewell 10:30pm Connor McKinney 10:30pm* Blake Windred 10:40pm* Jeffrey Guan

Defending champion: Stuart Manley Past Aussie winners: Scott Arnold (2015) Prize money: €270,000

Epson Tour Island Resort Championship Sweetgrass Golf Club, Harris, Michigan 11:36pm Fiona Xu (NZ) 11:36pm* Amelia Garvey (NZ) 11:58pm Maddison Hinson-Tolchard 4:46am Cassie Porter

Defending champion: Tsai Ching Tseng Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: $US262,500

PGA TOUR Americas The Beachlands Victoria Open Uplands Golf Club, Victoria, British Columbia 1:20am Charlie Hillier (NZ) 1:30am Karl Vilips 1:40am* Harry Hillier (NZ) 6am* Grant Booth

Defending champion: Jimmy Stanger Past Aussie winners: Prize money: $US1 million

LET Access Series Santander Golf Tour – AVILA Naturavila Golf, Spain 4:40pm Wenyung Keh (NZ) 5pm Munchin Keh (NZ) 8:40pm* Hanee Song 8:50pm Belinda Ji (a) 9:10pm Stephanie Bunque 10pm* Laura Hoskin (NZ)

Defending champion: Inaugural event Past Aussie winners: Nil Prize money: €45,000

Join our newsletter

Get weekly updates on news, golf tips and access to partner promotions.

Related News

Golf Australia NEW LOGO White Mono_logo
Join our newsletter

Get weekly updates on news, golf tips and access to partner promotions!