Medalist, Defending Champion Fall At Junior Amateur July 21, 2010 By Andrew Blair

Robby Shelton knocked defending champion Jordan Spieth out of the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

Ada, Mich. (July 22) - Storms aren’t forecast to visit Egypt Valley Country Club until Thursday afternoon, but upsets rattled the match play bracket in the second match-play round at the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship.

Both the medalist, Curtis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., and defending champion Jordan Spieth of Dallas, Texas, were ousted in the second round of match play.

Robby Shelton, 14, of Wilmer, Ala., assured that there will be a first-time winner in the national championship, winning the final two holes to end Speith’s aspirations for a repeat. Shelton squared the match by holing a 6-footer for birdie at the par-5 17th. He culminated the comeback by making a 5-footer for par at No. 18 to win the match after Spieth’s par chance from 12 feet spun out.

The voice of the peach-fuzz faced Shelton, his teeth clad with braces, was still shaking after the match.

All I could think of was to take him as far as I could, said Shelton, who will face Andrew Lister of Haymarket, Va., in the third round. After I made that putt on [No. 17], I knew I could do it. I had a lot of pressure, but I stayed composed.   

Spieth, who battled an inconsistent putter through the encounter and made three bogeys in the last seven holes, was likely more surprised by the result.

Honestly, it went by so fast coming in that I’m almost shocked that it’s over, said Spieth, who was trying to become the first player since Tiger Woods to win multiple U.S. Junior Amateur titles. It’s what happens in match play, but that was a very poor performance on my part, putting-wise. Nothing felt ‘on’ today. You can’t shoot six, five or four under for 10 rounds straight. You’re going to have that off day. If you can win on the off-day then you’re to be in good shape, but unfortunately it ended like that.

Denny McCarthy of Burtonsville, Md., from using a laser-like iron display to score a 3 and 2 victory over Thompson. Complementing smart play with an uncanny display of iron accuracy during an eight-hole stretch in which he hit approach shots within 20 feet, the 17-year-old McCarthy never trailed in the encounter.

People asked me if I was intimidated and I wasn’t at all, says McCarthy, who is bound for the University of Virginia in the fall of 2011. Match play is a completely different story from stroke play. The circumstances are different and it’s a different kind of golf. Anything can happen in match play. I went out there, hit fairways and greens, and gave myself good looks. I’m pleased with the way I played.

Gavin Hall of Pittsford, N.Y., the third low qualifier from stroke play, advanced with a 1-up victory over Alexander Schauffle of San Diego. The 15-year-old is the highest remaining seed in the championship.

Round of 16 matches are set for Thursday afternoon.

Andrew Blair is the communications director for the Virginia State Golf Association. He’s contributing articles at this week's U.S. Junior Amateur for the USGA.