CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia freshman golfer Ben James won his opening match to advance to the round of 32 at the U.S. Amateur Championships in Paramus, N.J. James downed Georgia Tech senior Ross Steelman 3 and 2 to move into the round of 32 at Ridgewood Country Club.

After splitting the first two holes, James took a lead he never relinquished. He led by as much as 4 up after nine holes on the way to defeating Steelman, who is ranked the No. 25 amateur in the world. James entered the tournament as the nation’s top-ranked junior player.

James will face Stewart Hagestad at 9:10 a.m. Thursday for the opportunity to move into the round of 16. Hagestad, a veteran of four U.S. Open appearances and 13 U.S. Amateur Championships was the 2016 and 2021 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion.

UVA senior Pietro Bovari controlled most of his round of 64 match against Josh Gliege before the Wichita State assistant coach won the final three holes to escape with a 1 up win. Bovari led 3 up after winning the third, fifth and seventh holes. He was still 3 up after 11 holes before Gliege won four of the final seven holes.

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