U.S. Junior: Weather halts second round, Ferndandez Valdez leads

SHOAL CREEK, Ala. (July 22, 2008)--Argentina’s Jorge Fernandez Valdes, 15, widened his lead over the field halfway through the second round of stroke play Tuesday at the U.S. Junior Amateur before severe weather suspended play for the day with half the field still on the course.

Fernandez Valdes is at 8-under-par through eight holes and holds a five-stroke lead over Seth Reeves, 17, of Duluth, Ga., who had completed five holes of Shoal Creek’s 7,251-yard layout before storms moved in. Fernandez Valdes had finished with a 7-under-par 65 Monday and had led by three strokes over Reeves.

The second round of stroke play will resume at 8 a.m. (CDT) Wednesday. Following the completion of the second round the low 64 scores will advance to march play. Match play is scheduled to run through Saturday, with a 36-hole final to determine the champion.

Among those who finished play Tuesday, Cameron Peck, 17, of Olympia, Wash., Sam Smith, 17, of Turlock, Calif., and Canada’s Justin Shin, 16, were low with a 2-under-par total of 142.

After making 10 birdies in his first round, Fernandez Valdes already has two more birdies to go with a bogey early in his second round, and he narrowly missed a third birdie from close range on his last hole of the day.

Peck bogeyed the last hole Tuesday to finish with a 1-over-par 73. Smith posted an even-par 72 and Shin finished with a 2-under 70, the second-best round of the day. It may not be good enough to take medalist honors, but they like their position none-the-less. The three were a stroke better than Julian Suri, 17, of St. Augustine, Fla., and Richard Werenski, 16, of South Hadley, Mass., who finished at 143.

They were the only five players who finished 36 holes under par out of the 78 players in the morning wave. Counting those still on the course, there are 11 players under par, and the 64th score is currently at seven over par.

“I just wanted to make the cut and I did that,” said Peck, who lost his second round match a year ago. “I’m glad it’s over.”

Defending champion Cory Whitsett, 16, of Houston, Texas, is one of those still under par after a first-round 69. He has a 2-under total through four holes.

The U.S. Junior Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

--Courtesy USGA

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ABOUT THE U.S. Junior Amateur

While it is not the oldest competition, the U.S. Junior Amateur is considered the premier junior competition, having been around since 1948. The event is open to male golfers who have not reached their 18th birthday prior to the close of competition and whose USGA Handicap Index does not exceed 6.4. The U.S. Junior is one of 13 national championship conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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