UTC's Steven Fox Wins U.S. Amateur in Dramatic Fashion

Birdies 37th hole for Comeback Win

Sunday, August 19, 2012 - by B.B. Branton

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- UTC senior golfer Steven Fox won the last two holes in regulation in the 36-hole championship final and then rolled in an18-foot birdie putt on the 37th hole to win the U.S. Amateur Golf Championship here Sunday at the Cherry Hills Country Club.

Seeded 63rd in a field of 64, Fox defeated No. 60 seed Michael Weaver, 1-up for the title.

Fox rallied from 3-down to Weaver of Cal-Berkeley after 22 holes and was then  2-down with two holes to play.

Wearing a UTC navy blue golf shirt with the "Power C" on the front, the Hendersonville, Tenn. resident won the 35th hole with a birdie, followed by a winning par at the 36th hole to force a playoff.

Weaver had a four-foot par putt to win the national championship on the 36th hole, but the ball rimmed out to give Fox new life.

On the 37th hole (No.1), Fox was on in two on the par four, while Weaver was on in three. Fox then rolled in the down hill putt for the win.

"This is certainly great for our program," stated UTC head coach Mark Guhne. "But we are all way more excited for Steven. He has worked so hard throughout his career and it is such a great feeling to see it all come to fruition."

Ironically, Weaver was 2-down with two holes to play in his round of 16 match with Albin Choi (Canada) and won the match on the 19th hole.

Fox, who defeated Weaver's Cal-Berkeley teammate Brandon Hagy, 2-up in the semifinals, becomes the highest seed to win the U.S. Amateur since the United States Golf Association began the seeding process in 1985.

Fox Had Early Lead: Fox led 2-up after two holes, but Weaver fought back and took hs first lead on the seventh hole. He did not relinquish the lead until Fox's birdie putt on the 37th hole.

Fox was 1-down after 33 holes (No.15), winning the hole wih a birdie, but Weaver birdied the par-4 16th (34 hole) to move back to 2-up with two to go. Fox won the next three holes to claim the national championship.

Beating the World's No.1: In the quarterfinals, Fox, rnaked 127th in the world, defeated Chris Williams U. of Washington), the world's top-ranked amateur, 4-and-2 ... In the semis, Weaver edged Justin Thomas, the world's No.5 player, 3-and-2. 

The UTC senior and two-time high school All-American at Hendersonville High School, joins a prestigious list of golfers to win the U.S. Amateur, including Bobby Jones (1924-25-27-28-30), Arnold Palmer (1954), Jack Nicklaus (1959, 1961), Phil Mickelson (1990) and Tiger Woods (1994-95-96).

Three Majors: The win earns Fox a berth in the 2013 British Open ... Semifinal wins by Fox and Weaver earned them exemptions into the 2013 U.S. Open provided they keep their amateur status and a possible invitation to the 2013 Masters..

Cherry Hills Comebacks: At the 1960 U.S. Open, Arnold Palmer was seven strokes behind leader Mike Souchak, but shot a closing round 65 to win by two over runner-up and amateur Jack Nicklaus.

Fox trailed by as many as three shots on Sunday before his rally.

First National Champion: Tennessee at Chattanooga's first individual national champion was George Dickinson who won the 1966 NCAA small college singles tennis crown played at the Univ. of the South ... A native of Lookout Mountain, Dickinson graduated from City High School (1961) and played for Ga. Tech before transferring to the U. of Chattanooga. 

UTC Wrestling National Champions: Randy Batten (1975-760-77), Turner Jackson (1975-76) and David Weeks (1976) all won NCAA D-II national titles under coach Jim Morgan.

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net

 


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