Top-seed advances, defending champ out

Top-seeded Jorge Fernandez Valdes, 15, of Argentina held off Cory McElyea, 16, of Santa Cruz, Calif., with a 25-foot birdie putt on the 19th hole to advance past Wednesday’s first round of match play in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.

Fernandez Valdes told the United States Golf Association (USGA) media coordinator Craig Smith after the match that he knew he was going to win, despite being worn out.

“I had no more legs. I was tired. I couldn’t make putts like that before,” said Fernandes Valdes, who started the day with nine holes to finish the second round of stroke play and earn low medalist honors.

His 7-under performance on Monday catapulted him into the spotlight along with defending champion Cory Whitsett of Houston, Texas. Whitsett’s run at history to become the second golfer to ever win back-to-back Junior Am Championships fell short Wednesday afternoon, losing his first round of match play, 4 and 3, to Dominic Bozzelli of Pittsford, N.Y.

Two of the four Alabama golfers advanced into match play Wednesday morning and both remained in the top 32 Wednesday night.

Bobby Wyatt of UMS-Wright in Mobile and Tom Lovelady of Mountain Brook both won their matches Wednesday. Wyatt, beat Drew Preston of Ada, Mich., 4 and 3.

“I felt comfortable with my lead after the 11th hole,” Wyatt told the USGA. He hit a 35-foot putt on the hole to go up by five.

Wyatt will face Fernandez Valdes on Thursday at 7:30 a.m.

Lovelady, who beat Dashiell Lindsell of Burlingame, Calif., 6 and 5, was mainly soaking up the moment.

“I won’t forget this day. It’s one of the best days I’ve ever had,” Lovelady said. “First, I made it to match play, and then I won 6 and 5.”

Lovelady will meet Jordan Lee of Tarzana, Calif., starting at 8:51 a.m. on Thursday.

Twenty-one of the 32 matches were played Wednesday before the round was suspended for darkness. The round will continue 7 a.m. Thursday, followed by a second round of 18-hole match play.

Completed first-round match results and suspended matches:

Upper Bracket

Jorge Fernandez Valdes, Argentina (139) def. Cory McElyea, Santa Cruz, Calif. (152), 19 holes

Bobby Wyatt, Mobile, Ala. (149) def. Drew Preston, Ada, Mich. (149), 6 and 5

Andrew Yun, Tacoma, Wash. (150) def. Cameron Wilson, Rowayton, Conn. (146), 1 up

Jeffrey Kang, Fullerton, Calif. (150) def. Michael Sorenson, Hartland, Wis. (146), 3 and 1

Richard Werenski, South Hadley, Mass. (143) def. Nicholas Losole III, Scottsdale, Ariz. (151), 3 and 1

David Persons, El Paso, Texas (150) def. Matthew Ceravolo, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (148), 2 up

Julian Suri, Saint Augustine, Fla. (143) def. Richard Lamb, South Bend, Ind. (151), 5 and 4

Jordan Spieth, Dallas, Texas (150) def. Ryan Marks, Warrensburg, Mo. (148), 2 and 1

Justin Shin, Canada (142) def. Cody Martin, Union, Ky. (152), 1 up

Evan Beck, Virginia Beach, Va. (148) def. Chris Worrell, Enid, Okla. (149), 4 and 3

Patrick Rodgers, Avon, Ind. (145) def. Parker Clowers, Jacksonville, Fla. (151), 6 and 5

J J Spaun, San Dimas, Calif. (147) def. Landon Tujague, Dallas, Texas (150), 3 and 2

Jordan Gilmore, Sparks, Nev. (152) def. Sam Smith, Turlock, Calif. (142), 1 up

T J Vogel, Miami, Fla. (148) def. Patrick Reed, Augusta, Ga. (149), 4 and 3

Ernesto Marin, Miami, Fla. (147) def. Ben Crancer, St. Louis, Mo. (150), 3 and 2

Lower Bracket

Andrew Steinhofer, Madison, Wis. (152) def. Cody Gribble, Dallas, Texas (140), 5 and 4

Adam Sumrall, South Bend, Ind. (149) def. Curtis Donahoe, League City, Texas (149), 4 and 2

Jordan Lee, Tarzana, Calif. (150) def. Wes Strang, Bethesda, Md. (146), 4 and 3

Tom Lovelady, Birmingham, Ala. (147) def. Dashiell Lindsell, Burlingame, Calif. (150), 6 and 5

Dominic Bozzelli, Pittsford, N.Y. (151) def. Cory Whitsett, Houston, Texas (143), 4 and 3

Grant Weaver, Wooster, Ohio (150) def. Jay Vandeventer, Bristol, Tenn. (148), 3 and 2

Martin Trainer, Palo Alto, Calif., def Blaine Woodruff, Acworth, Ga., 1 up

Gaston De La Torre, Brush Prairie, Wash., def. Kevin Penner, Sammamish, Wash., 2 up

Cameron Peck, Olympia, Wash., def. Bobby Lange, Sherman Oaks, Calif., 4 and 3

Boom Sritart, Keller, Texas, def. Jack Perry, Santa Barbara, Calif., 3 and 1

Wilson Day, Raleigh, N.C., def. Justin Kelley, Haiku, Hawaii, 3 and 2

Rak Cho, Korea, def. Simon St. Louis, Canada, 3 and 2

Phillip Choi, Orlando, Fla., def Brett Komoto, Honolulu, Hawaii, 3 and 1

Robert Galbreath, Huntingdon Valley, Pa., def. Seth Reeves, Duluth, Ga., 5 and 4

Bryden Macpherson, Australia, def. Taylor Travis, Fremont, Calif., 1 up

Emiliano Grillo, Argentina, def. Tyler Klava, Pace, Fla., 6 and 4