CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. --- Chattanooga Mocs senior Steven Fox (Hendersonville, Tenn.) is treading into unchartered territory after cruising to a 4&2 win in the quarterfinals of the United States Amateur on Friday. Fox beat the WORLD’s top-ranked amateur, Chris Williams of Washington, to move into the Final FORE of the event.
He will face Cal’s Brandon Hagy in the semifinals at 10:15 a.m., Eastern Time. Ben Hogan Award winner Justin Thomas (Alabama) and Michael Weaver (Cal) square off in the day’s opening match.
This is believed to be the deepest run in an USGA event by a UTC golfer. It was also Fox’s easiest win of the week, an odd thought considering the competition.
“This is easily the best I’ve played since I been out here,” Fox stated. “I shot three-under through 16 with one bogey for the round. I’m not sure it could have gone any better. I had to play that well considering who I was up against.
“I didn’t make any mistakes and made a lot of putts,” he added. “I got up-and-down from just about anywhere. That’s what gave me the 4&2 win.”
Fox got off to a quick start. After he and Williams halved the first two holes, he notched birdies on two of the next four. He won three of those to take a 3up lead onto the seventh tee. He extended the advantage to 4up with a par on nine.
“It started at three for me,” Fox continued. “It’s a drivable par four and I hit it in a bunker about 20 yards short of the hole. The bunker shot ended up about three-and-a-half feet short from the hole. I made the birdie and it started the run.
“He missed a par putt on four and then I got a birdie at six to go three up,” Fox noted. “I made the turn at 4up and that exceeded my expectations by far.”
That margin held true through 14 as the match went dormie with four holes to play after Fox drained a ticklish par putt. Williams put up a fight with a birdie on 15, but Fox closed the door with a birdie of his own at 16 for the 4&2 triumph.
“He’s amazing,” head coach Mark Guhne said. “I wanted him to get off to a good start today and he did. When he got two and three up, I thought this may go his way. We just got more excited following him on every hole (followed online at USGA.org).
“I think Fox is starting to figure out how good he can be and that he is one of the better players in college golf…really in the country,” Guhne added. “He is believing in himself at that level, and with his success here and at the U.S. Amateur Pub Links (top 16) earlier this summer, this is just the start of where he can go.”
Tape delay coverage of today’s matches begins tonight on the Golf Channel at 8:30 p.m. The Golf Channel can be found in Chattanooga here: Comcast – Ch. 405 (HD) or 36, EPB – Ch. 36, DirecTV – Ch. 218, Dish Network – Ch. 401 or AT&T U-verse – Ch. 641.
NBC picks up coverage over the weekend. Tomorrow’s semifinals are on from 4-6 p.m. NBC is also running the 36-hole final Sunday from 4-6 p.m. All times are Eastern.
If Fox wins his semifinal match against Hagy, he receives an invitation to play in the 2013 Masters and 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club. Winning the amateur title grants an exemption into the 2013 British Open at Muirfield.