published Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Steven Fox with Mocs for Mississippi event

  • photo
    University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golfer Steven Fox takes a break from practicing with teammates at the Council Fire Golf Course.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox will play in one more golf tournament before playing in the most recognizable tournament this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Fox will don his blue-and-gold uniform and play with his University of Tennessee at Chattanooga teammates in the 54-hole BancorpSouth Intercollegiate on Monday and Tuesday at Reunion Golf and Country Club in Madison, Miss. Then he'll play an exhibition match, the Georgia Cup, against British Amateur champion Alan Dunbar of Northern Ireland.

Then those two will head to Augusta, Ga., where they will begin preparations for the Masters.

"They say it's the week of a lifetime, so I'm excited for that," Fox said. "The whole week is going to be awesome and I'm excited for it. At nights, all of it will sink in."

But a team event is up first. The tournament hosted by the University of Mississippi will be the last for the Mocs before their postseason begins with the Southern Conference championship tournament.

"We want to win at Ole Miss," coach Mark Guhne said. "Postseason is almost here. We've got everybody back, and all five of them are together now. Winning is always the goal, but we need to get on a roll, start having some success and get ready for SoCon and NCAAs. There's no better time than now."

Joining Fox will be Chris Robb, Davis Bunn, Benni Weilguni and Liam Johnson. Senior Alex Ratliff won the right to be the sixth man and play as an individual next week and make the trip to the SoCon tournament as an emergency alternate.

Fox has missed two UTC tournaments this season to play in PGA Tour events on sponsors' exemptions. He played in the Farmer's Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill last week, where he shot 78-81 and missed the cut.

He's been invited to play in two other PGA Tour events -- The RBC Heritage Classic at Harbor Town and The Memorial at Muirfield -- before the potential end of UTC's season, but he declined because they conflict with the SoCon and NCAA tournaments.

Before having a conversation with Palmer at his tournament and playing two rounds with the pros, Fox placed fifth among his teammates at the Furman Intercollegiate, which adds importance to an improved performance Monday and Tuesday.

"We'll continue to work on what he needs to do to play well," Guhne said. "I haven't seen him a lot, so we'll be working together."

Fox also has missed class time and practice time to represent the United States in the World Team Amateur Championship and the Copas deLas Americas since winning the U.S. Amateur title in 37 holes over Michael Weaver on Aug. 19 at the famed Cherry Hills Golf Club.

"He's given some guys some experience and opportunities to play," said Guhne, whose team is ranked No. 50 in the GolfWeek standings. "It's put some pressure on other guys, which is a good thing."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

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 ...

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