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Oct. 19, 2018

AJGA juniors grab 10 medals at Summer Youth Olympic Games

UPDATED - Several current and former AJGA members finished atop the leaderboard after the Individual and Mixed Team Stroke Play Golf Competitions at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Of the 64 players competing in the two events, 26 were AJGA members, and nine of them earned 10 medals at the games.

In the Men’s Individual Stroke Play competition, six AJGA members finished inside the top-10, including gold-medalist Karl Vilips of (Australia) Wesley Chapel, Florida.

The two-time Rolex Junior All-American fired a 1-under-par 69 in the final round to finish individual stroke play at 4-under-par 206. Vilips, the No. 4 player in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, has five AJGA tournament titles in his career with the most recent coming at the 2018 Wyndham Invitational presented by BB&T.

Along with Vilips, Vanchai Luangnitikul of Phuket, Thailand, brought home gold in the Mixed Team Stroke Play event. In one year as an AJGA member, the 16-year-old has two top-20 finishes, including a career-best second-place finish at the Enagic Junior Championship.  

Three AJGA members brought home silver medals at the games. Akshay Bhatia of Wake Forest, North Carolina, was the only competitor to earn two medals at the games, as he took silver in both the Men’s Individual Stroke Play and Mixed Team Stroke Play events. Bhatia battled Vilips down the stretch in the Men’s Individual Stroke Play competition, finishing at 2-under-par 138 to take the silver medal.

Bhatia, the top-ranked player in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, teamed up with fellow-AJGA member Lucy Li of Redwood Shores, California, to grab his second silver medal for the United States in the Mixed Team Stroke Play event. Li, the No. 2 player in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, has three AJGA Invitational victories since 2017. The 16-year-old finished T8 in the Women’s Individual Stroke Play competition.

Alessia Nobilio of Rozzano (MI), Italy, also earned silver medalist honors after finishing the Women’s Individual Stroke Play competition in second place. Nobilio was a member of the 2017 European PING Junior Solheim Cup Team, and she also has two top-20 national junior golf finishes in her career.

Four AJGA members earned bronze medals at the games. Jerry Ji of Hoofddorp, Netherlands, and Emma Spitz of Gollersdorf, Austria, each finished third in their respective Individual Stroke Play competitions. Ji has two top-10 national junior golf finishes in his career, including a tournament title at the 2017 Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship. As an AJGA member, Spitz has competed on two European PING Junior Solheim Cup Teams and one Junior Ryder Cup – Europe team, amassing a 6-2-1 match play record.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, natives Ela Anacona and AJGA-alum Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira teamed up to earn a bronze medal for the games’ host nation in the Mixed Team Stroke Play Event. Anacona has two top-10 finishes in national junior golf since joining the AJGA in 2016, while Oliveira has two top-20 finishes in national junior golf since 2016.