Men’s Golf: James moves on to quarterfinals at U.S. Amateur

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia’s men’s golfer Ben James won twice on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Championship. Cavalier teammate Paul Chang had his Round of 16 match suspended due to darkness after it was tied after 18 holes. That match will conclude Friday morning at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

James defeated North Carolina’s David Ford, the 2023 ACC Player of the Year, in 19 holes during Thursday afternoon’s Round of 16. After the first 15 holes, both players had won four times, never taking more than a 1Up lead. A bogey by James on the par-5 17th hole gave Ford a 1Up lead heading to 18, but James’ par and Ford’s bogey forced extra holes. James converted a five-foot birdie putt on the 19th hole to pick up the win.

During the morning’s Round of 32, James downed SMU sophomore Zach Kingsland 1Up in a match that never saw one of the two golfers grab more than a one-hole lead. All square after 16 holes, James used a birdie on the par-5 17th hole and then halved No. 18 to advance. James 18-hole score was even par 71.

Chang won the first two holes of his Round of 16 match with Auburn’s John Marshall Butler to grab the early lead. Butler battled back to even the match after six holes which is where the score stood as the players headed to the back nine. Chang won on No. 10 and Butler answered with wins on No. 11 and No. 12 to go 1Up. Chang again responded with a win on No. 13 to tie the match back up.

On No. 16, Chang hit his shot of the day, making an eagle from the fairway on the par-4 hole to win his fifth hole of the match. It didn’t last long as Butler evened things up on the next hole and the two players both made pars on No. 18 before the match was suspended due to darkness.

Earlier in the day, Chang won the first hole in his Round of 32 match with Tennessee sophomore Caleb Surratt and kept that lead through their first four holes. Surratt won the fifth hole to even the match and then took a 1Up lead on the eighth hole. Wins by Chang on No. 10 and No. 11 gave him another 1Up lead he held until Surratt won the 15th hole and then grabbed the lead with a victory on the 17th hole.

Chang forced extra holes with a long birdie putt on No. 18. Neither player could gain an advantage on the first three playoff holes and then Chang made birdie on their 22nd hole to advance to the afternoon round.

On Friday, James will face Florida sophomore Parker Bell in the quarterfinals at 9:45 a.m. ET. If Chang advances, he will meet former Oregon golfer Jose Islas in a match that starts at 11:15 a.m. ET.

Friday’s quarterfinals competition will be broadcast on Peacock from Noon to 3 p.m. ET and replayed on Golf Channel from 6-8 p.m. ET.