Hong leads Haas Family Invitational after strong second-round at Sedgefield Country Club

Hong leads after strong second-round at Sedgefield Country Club
Youngest player in field narrows gap and climbs leaderboard

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Eugene Hong, 16, of Sanford, Florida claimed the lead at the Haas Family Invitational after Wednesday’s second round, jumping five spots up the leaderboard with a score of 3-under-par 67 at Sedgefield Country Club. His 4-under-par tournament total is two strokes ahead of Karl Vilips of Wesley Chapel, Florida.

Hong, a University of Florida commit, is ranked 4th in the Polo Golf Rankings and is a three time AJGA champion. In 2015, he was a member of the East Wyndham Cup Team and was named a first-team Rolex Junior All-American.

Hong credits his second-round lead to his strong 4-under-par 31 start on the back nine, which had a scoring average of 37.321 Wednesday.

“It felt good because I knew the back nine was harder, and since I shot 4-under on the back nine I felt like I was off to a good start,” Hong said. “Yesterday I was hitting a lot of good shots and couldn’t really make any putts, but today I started making a lot of putts.”

With two more rounds left to play, Hong is cautiously optimistic going into the third round.

“It’s good to finally be in contention in the second round because most of the time I don’t do as well in the beginning and catch up at the end,” Hong said. “It’s a four-day tournament so there’s still a lot of golf to play, so hopefully I can continue to play good and finish strong.”

It was a strong finish that earned the youngest player in the Haas Family Invitational field, Karl Vilips, a second-place spot just two strokes behind Hong, with a second round 2-under-par 68. The 14-year-old Australian closed the gap towards the end of his round after carding a hole-in-one on No. 7 from 181 yards.

“It was nice yardage for me. I was just trying to hit it back there and have a nice putt at it because I really don’t like that hole, but now I do,” Vilips said.

Vilips climbed nine spots up the leaderboard and is setting his sights even higher going into Thursday’s third round.

“My goal for this tournament was to shoot 1-under for each round and so far I’m keeping up to that goal, but it’s going to be extremely tough to hold this score throughout the tournament because it is a really tough course and things can go south real fast,” Vilips said.

Vilips is ranked 45th in the Polo Golf Rankings and already has two AJGA championship titles after winning the 2015 AJGA Junior at Forest Lake presented by Tom Holzer Ford and the 2015 AJGA/CJGA Junior Championship.

Three players are tied for third at 1-under-par 139: Kaito Onishi of Irvine, California, Chandler Eaton of Alpharetta, Georgia and Dan Erickson of Whittier, California.

The third round of the Haas Family Invitational begins June 16 at 7:45 a.m. A cut to the low 60 and ties will be made after Thursday’s third round.

About the AJGA
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-18) of nearly 6,500 members from 49 states and more than 50 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.

TaylorMade-adidas Golf became the AJGA’s National Sponsor in 2016 after more than 25 years of support. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Ralph Lauren became the AJGA’s second Premier Partner.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 600 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas, Stacy Lewis, Vicky Hurst, Alison Lee, Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel.

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Second-round results from the Haas Family Invitational conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Sedgefield Country Club | Boys Par: 35-35–70. Yardage: 7107. Rating: 75. Slope: 143
1. Eugene Hong, Sanford, Fla. (2018) 69-67–136
2. Karl Vilips, (Australia) Wesley Chapel, Fla. (2020) 70-68–138
3. Kaito Onishi, (Japan) Irvine, Calif. (2017) 67-72–139
3. Chandler Eaton, Alpharetta, Ga. (2016) 68-71–139
3. Dan Erickson, Whittier, Calif. (2017) 68-71–139
6. Andrew Kozan, West Palm Beach, Fla. (2017) 67-73–140
6. Nate Menon, Wyomissing, Pa. (2017) 72-68–140
6. Andrew Walker, Battle Creek, Mich. (2016) 71-69–140
6. Tyler Strafaci, Davie, Fla. (2016) 69-71–140
6. Noah Norton, Chico, Calif. (2017) 71-69–140
11. Wilson Furr, Jackson, Miss. (2017) 73-68–141
11. Garrett Barber, Stuart, Fla. (2018) 71-70–141
11. Reese Ramsey, Austin, Texas (2017) 75-66–141
14. Walker Lee, Houston, Texas (2017) 71-71–142
14. John Pak, Scotch Plains, N.J. (2017) 71-71–142
14. Sen (Tommy) Cao, (China) Lake Mary, Fla. (2017) 72-70–142
14. Josef Dransfeld, Huntington, W.Va. (2018) 71-71–142
14. Joshua McCarthy, Danville, Calif. (2016) 69-73–142
19. Brandon Mancheno, Jacksonville, Fla. (2017) 70-74–144
19. Michael Sanders, Davidson, N.C. (2018) 74-70–144
19. Ryan Hall, Knoxville, Tenn. (2018) 71-73–144
19. Spencer Ralston, Gainesville, Ga. (2016) 71-73–144
19. William Nottingham, Kingsport, Tenn. (2016) 69-75–144
24. Devondeep Bling, Ridgecrest, Calif. (2017) 73-72–145
24. S.M. Lee, Buford, Ga. (2016) 75-70–145
24. Kyle Cox, Carrollton, Texas (2018) 68-77–145
24. Mason Nome, Houston, Texas (2019) 75-70–145
24. Pierceson Coody, Plano, Texas (2018) 70-75–145
24. Parker Gillam, Cary, N.C. (2017) 72-73–145
24. Andy Spencer, Prairie Village, Kan. (2016) 76-69–145
31. Spencer Soosman, Westlake Village, Calif. (2016) 76-70–146
31. Rij Patel, Hunt Valley, Md. (2016) 76-70–146
31. Ryan Gerard, Raleigh, N.C. (2017) 73-73–146
31. Sean Maruyama, (Japan) Encino, Calif. (2018) 74-72–146
31. James Piot, Canton, Mich. (2017) 76-70–146
31. Goodman Rudolph, Cordova, Tenn. (2017) 72-74–146
31. Aman Gupta, Concord, N.C. (2017) 72-74–146
31. Sachin Kumar, (Trinidad and Tobago) Port Saint Lucie, Fla. (2017) 69-77–146
31. Hayden White, Benton, La. (2018) 76-70–146
40. Davis Shore, Knoxville, Tenn. (2017) 73-74–147
40. Brock Goyen, Gilbert, Ariz. (2017) 75-72–147
40. Ben Smith, Novi, Mich. (2017) 76-71–147
40. Varun Chopra, Champaign, Ill. (2017) 76-71–147
40. Koichiro Ishika, (Japan) Bradenton, Fla. (2017) 74-73–147
45. Garett Reband, Fort Worth, Texas (2016) 71-77–148
45. Trent Phillips, Inman, S.C. (2018) 73-75–148
45. Joshua Gliege, Eagle, Idaho (2016) 73-75–148
45. Eddy Lai, San Jose, Calif. (2017) 74-74–148
49. Chase Furey, Newport Beach, Calif. (2017) 78-71–149
49. Andrew Spiegler, Abingdon, Va. (2017) 71-78–149
49. Zack Justice, Orlando, Fla. (2016) 75-74–149
49. Youxin (Robin) Wang, (China) Lake Mary, Fla. (2017) 76-73–149
53. David Laskin, Elk Grove, Calif. (2016) 71-79–150
53. Shiso Go, Hiratsuka, Japan (2017) 75-75–150
53. Joseph Chun, (South Korea) Irvine, Calif. (2017) 75-75–150
53. Ethan Ng, New York, N.Y. (2018) 74-76–150
53. Zhengkai (Bobby) Bai, (China) Lake Mary, Fla. (2016) 77-73–150
53. Andy Mao, Johns Creek, Ga. (2019) 74-76–150
59. Charlie Miller, Jackson, Miss. (2017) 73-78–151
59. Devin Hua, Barrigada, Guam (2016) 71-80–151
59. Yash Majmudar, (India) Singapore, Singapore (2016) 79-72–151
62. Cooper Dossey, Austin, Texas (2016) 75-77–152
62. Brandon Yoon, Brambleton, Va. (2017) 79-73–152
62. Luka Karaulic, Dacula, Ga. (2018) 76-76–152
62. McClure Meissner, San Antonio, Texas (2017) 74-78–152
62. Carlos Tercero, Xalapa, Mexico (2017) 78-74–152
67. Tobin Niblett, Austin, Texas (2016) 82-71–153
67. Russell Matos, Lombard, Ill. (2016) 81-72–153
67. Brendan O’Reilly, Hinsdale, Ill. (2017) 80-73–153
67. Thomas Hogan, St. Simons Island, Ga. (2018) 77-76–153
71. Michael Saccente, Edgewater, Fla. (2016) 74-80–154
72. Sean Yi, Auburn, Wash. (2017) 81-74–155
72. Will Dickson, Providence, R.I. (2017) 79-76–155
72. Christian Fanfelle, San Antonio, Texas (2018) 83-72–155
75. Sam Tidd, Meridian, Idaho (2018) 76-80–156
75. Sam Bennett, Madisonville, Texas (2018) 74-82–156
75. Jake Milanowski, Peachtree City, Ga. (2017) 81-75–156
78. Ryan Grider, Lewisville, Texas (2017) 76-81–157
78. Chase Cutshall, Melbourne, Fla. (2016) 79-78–157
80. Pone Pyae Han, Yangon, Myanmar (2017) 81-77–158
81. Harrison Ott, Brookfield, Wis. (2017) 81-78–159
81. Greyson Porter, Clearwater, Fla. (2016) 83-76–159
83. Evan Sun, Wesley Chapel, Fla. (2019) 81-81–162
84. Ahmed Ali, Palo Alto, Calif. (2018) 84-83–167

Chris Richards, Senior Communications Director