Former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golfers Bryce Ledford, Jonathan Hodge and Steven Fox and Hixson graduate Paul Apyan all advanced through the first round of Web.com Tour qualifying school Friday.
Hodge, who played on the Web.com Tour last year, shot a 7-under-par 273 to tie for 10th at Florence (S.C.) Country Club, where the top 34 and ties advanced to the second stage. Fox tied for 14th at 274 under, and Apyan tied for 17th at 275 in Florence. Ledford tied for 20th at 2-over 282 at Pensacola (Fla.) Country Club, where the top 22 advanced. Chattanooga's Andrew Black withdrew after the third round.
"Off the course, it's nice to have somebody to hang out with and go to dinner with," Hodge said. "Fox, Paul and I went out to dinner one night."
Fox, the 2012 U.S. Amateur champion, has had a successful start to his professional career. He tied for 11th at the Puerto Rico Classic on the PGA Tour's Latino America Tour two weeks ago -- where former Mocs teammate Stephen Jaeger tied for seventh -- and made it through the first stage of Q-School on Friday.
"Playing well in Puerto Rico helped me this week because I had confidence and I got a few putts to fall here and there," Fox said. "For my first time, getting through is a great feeling."
Jaeger, Adam Mitchell, Hunter Green, Thomas Smith and Ryan Thornton will begin their first-stage tournaments on Oct. 22 at various locations.
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 ...