U.S. Women's Amateur: Alexa Pano falls in nailbiter; Lucy Li advances

USGA/Steven Gibbons

U.S. Women's Amateur: Alexa Pano falls in nailbiter; Lucy Li advances

USGA

U.S. Women's Amateur: Alexa Pano falls in nailbiter; Lucy Li advances

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WEST POINT, Miss. – The hot, humid Mississippi day began with 32 players and ended with eight.

The Round of 16 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Old Waverly Golf Club ended Thursday afternoon amid steep humidity and temperatures that neared 100 degrees. Players said they were able to play two rounds, over 11 hours of golf from start to finish in those conditions, due to proper hydration and mental strength.

“It was definitely challenging,” Albane Valenzuela said of the heat. “My hands are pretty sweaty so my caddy had to give me like a towel every single hole just to keep them dry because a few times (the club) slipped out of my hands.”

MORE: U.S. Women’s Amateur scores | Photo gallery

Falling behind early in the Round of 32, Valenzuela wasn’t suffocated by the day’s heat or her skilled opponents. She recorded three straight birdies starting on the 14th against Brynn Walker in her first match of the day to win 1 up.

Seeded 13th in match play, Valenzuela put away her second match much more quickly, finishing the day with a 4-and-3 win over Megan Schofill to punch her ticket to the quarterfinals.

The keys to making the quarterfinals, the Stanford senior said, were patience and consistency.

“You have to be very patient,” Valenzuela said. “I think that’s the key to this tournament. My match this morning was really tight. I could’ve lost. And this afternoon, I had it more control so anything can happen at any time.”

In the most interesting matchup of the day, stroke play co-medalist Alexa Pano and Andrea Lee, the highest-ranked player at the Amateur, had a nail-biter Round of 16 match.

Lee left the course victorious in 23 holes after Pano missed a putt for par to extend the match and bogeyed the final hole. Lee, the nation’s No. 2-ranked amateur, forced extra holes with a long putt on 18 after winning her first match of the day, 4-and-3 over Brooke Matthews.

Lucy Li, the second-highest ranked amateur in the field at No. 3, made the quarterfinals in this tournament for the second straight year with a birdie on the 17th hole to card a 2-and-1 win over Pimnipa Panthong. The 16-year-old Li, who holds records as the youngest qualifier for the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2013 and the U.S. Women’s Open in 2014, won her first match of the day 5-and-4 over Amanda Doherty with a birdie on 14. She totaled five birdies and a bogey in her Round of 32 win.

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“I was just hitting it really solid today, hitting it really good, putting good. It was just a really solid round,” Li said after the Round of 32.

In anticipation of inclement weather Friday afternoon, tee times for the quarterfinal round were moved up to 8:15 a.m. ET.

With only one round of golf to play on Friday, Valenzuela was indifferent to the tee times moving from 3 p.m. ET.

“I mean, I’ll go to bed early anyway,” she joked. “It’s the same for my opponents so it doesn’t matter.”

FS1 will have tape-delayed coverage from 4-7 p.m. ET.

Quarterfinal matchups

Time (ET) Matchups
8:15 a.m.
Megha Ganne vs. Caroline Canales
8:25 a.m. Albane Valenzuela vs. Aneka Seumanutafa
8:35 a.m. Lucy Li vs. Andrea Lee
8:45 a.m. Gabriela Ruffels vs. Kenzie Wright

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