CHATTANOOGA — Steven Fox, the 2012 U.S. Amateur Champion, captured himself a five-stroke victory at the 98th Annual Tennessee State Amateur Championship hosted by Chattanooga Golf & Country Club Friday.
Coming into the final round, Fox had a single stroke lead over Carson Jacobs at 7-under-par. He proceeded to capitalize in the final round and fired a 67 which made his 72-hole total 270 (-10 under par).
Fox, from Hendersonville, started the day off slow with two bogeys in the first three holes. The former UT-Chattanooga standout then answered with 5 birdies in the last 16 holes to secure his win.
“I just had a complete mental error on hole 2, which I got pretty upset at myself about, and then on three, I just made a bad putt,” Fox continued to say. “I just don’t like the front side for some reason, if you look at all four days, I was over par on the front and then several under par on the back side.”
On the final hole, a 222-yard, par 3, Fox hit a 5 iron just right of the green and into the sand bunker. When he talked about that feeling on the final hole he said, “I didn’t even try for the pin, I just knew I needed to be in the middle of the green. I flared it to the right and had that bunker shot; all I was thinking was please do not skull this. You know I hit a great bunker shot just where I wanted and it nearly went in. It was a great ending to my round.”
There was a tie for second place. Defending champion Tim Jackson of Germantown and Chattanooga’s Keith Mitchell both fired a total of 275 (-5 under par) to end the tournament.
Fox plans to go professional just following next week’s U.S. Amateur Championship of which he is defending his title. This will be his last time competing in the Tennessee State Amateur.
In asking how he felt about his last time playing in and winning the State Amateur, he commented, “It’s awesome to now have three TGA victories since moving to Tennessee my freshman year of high school. It‘s just pretty cool to be known here in Tennessee and know that I will be known as a Tennessee State Amateur Champion as well.”
Cleveland golfer Hunter Vest made a charge Friday with four birdies and a bogey for a 3-under 67 to move up the leaderboard from a tie for 46th place to start the final round to a tie for 22nd when all was said and done. The Lee University NAIA All-American finished with a 72-69-77-67 — 285 total, the same as Chattanooga’s Richard Keene and Ben Reeves from Knoxville.
For more information and statistics visit www.tnamateur.com.