Stephan Jaeger has a future in professional golf.
But the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior has other goals in mind before playing for paychecks -- helping the Mocs win the Southern Conference championship is near the top of the list.
Jaeger shot a 6-under 66 in the opening round of the SoCon tournament at Ralston Creek Golf Course in Daniel Island, S.C., which hosted the Nationwide Tour championship last October.
He leads the medalist race by four shots over Darren Cook of Appalachian State and Henry Smart from the College of Charleston heading into the second round of the 54-hole tournament.
Jaeger put himself in fantastic position to win his third SoCon player of the year award by shooting a 6-under 30 on the back nine Sunday.
"Sometimes you just hit them where right where you want to and that happened on the back nine," Jaeger said over the phone. "I hit quite a few good shots and everything was going for me."
The Mocs finished the first day at 6-over 294. They trail tournament leader Georgia Southern by four shots. The Eagles shot 2 over and lead Wofford by one stroke and Samford by three.
"We've always started kind of slow this year, so to be four shots back isn't awful," coach Mark Guhne said. "Hopefully we continue our trend of playing better in second and third rounds. I think it will come down to the end."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...