Aussie pair contending in Asia-Pacific

Budding Australian golfers Karl Vilips and Harrison Crowe are bidding for the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand, sniffing out gold for a seat at the Masters and British Open.

21-year-old US college student Vilips, who won the 2018 Youth Olympics title, and NSW Open Crowe champion were a stone’s throw from the top halfway through the prestigious event held at Amata Spring Country Club outside Bangkok. .

The Chinese Bo Jin, who shot three under 69 on Friday, was a shot ahead on the field, the second consecutive year he maintained the lead of 36 holes, sitting 10 minus halfway through the trip.

Oklahoma State student Jin, who finished third last year, was one ahead of 15-year-old Thai star Ratchanon “TK” Chantananuwat and South Korean Wooyoung Cho.

But the Australian duo was hot on their heels, Stanford University students Vilips and Crowe recorded seven birdies and two bugbears each in their second round 67.

There is a lot to play for in the event which, announced this week, will return to Australia next year for the first time in nine years at Royal Melbourne.

The winner receives an invitation to compete in next year’s Masters at Augusta National and the British Open at Royal Liverpool, while the runner-up or runner-up earns a place in the Open qualifier final.

Last year, Jin held the 36-hole lead in Dubai before being overhauled by the world’s greatest amateur Keita Nakajima, who booked the Augusta round after a playoff.

Chantananuwat, at number 12, the tallest amateur in the business, has already won an Asian Tour event this year.

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