CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Steven Fox advanced Thursday to the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals by defeating 55-year-old Doug Hanzel 1 up in the round of 32 and then topping College of Charleston golfer Zack Munroe 2 up at Cherry Hills Country Club. "The highlight of my day was walking off the 18th green two times today with a smile on my face," said Fox, who was interviewed by Roger Maltbie after his afternoon win. "I'm on a high right now and getting texts from a lot of people. I'm ecstatic. ... I'm swinging it well. I'll go out there like it's the first match or any other match." Fox will face University of Washington golfer Chris Williams, the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world, in the quarterfinal round. "My mental game has gotten so much better over the years," Fox said. "I would just fire at anything as a freshman. I don't do that now." He won his morning match when Hanzel made a double-bogey on the last hole. Fox won his afternoon match with a solid approach and Munroe's two poor greenside shots on the 18th. "We didn't play well in the morning and it was close all day," Fox said via cell phone. "In the afternoon, I hit the ball better than I have all week. But I couldn't get the putter hot."
• Heritage High School and Chattanooga Cyclones shortstop Lee Gibson has committed to continue his baseball career at Troy University in 2013. He also had a scholarship offer from Tennessee Tech and was being recruited by Wake Forest among other NCAA Division I schools but decided not to wait. "I picked Troy because it was really the school I wanted to go to," Gibson said Thursday. "The campus is beautiful and places are easy to find there, and the baseball complex and facilities are amazing. Also, their shortstop will be a senior when I'm a freshman and I'll have a shot to play when I'm a sophomore." He'll be reuniting with former Cyclones teammate T.J. Binder from Ooltewah, a Troy freshman. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Gibson is a left-handed batter who also has played second base for Heritage, which reached the Georgia state playoffs the last two years. He has a 3.95 grade point average. At Cyclone this summer he batted .355 with a .477 on-base percentage, playing 30 of 32 games with a wood bat, and he led the 17-under team with 24 RBIs and three walk-off winning hits. He stole eight bases. Cyclones founder and coach George Koontz said Gibson was one of the best middle infielders in the organization's 20-year history and has the "potential to ultimately play professional baseball due to his physical talent and tireless work ethic."
• CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The four-time defending NAIA champion Lee University women's soccer team will play an exhibition tonight at 6 against NCAA Division II member Columbus State at the Greater Cleveland Soccer complex on Mouse Creek Road. The game was moved from the Lee field, which recently was resodded. Lee, returning 10 of 11 starters and ranked No. 1 in the NAIA preseason poll, will be a provisional Division II member a year from now and will host another D-II member, Young Harris, in a scrimmage Wednesday at 7 p.m.
• Emmanuel Awotula begins his head-coaching career tonight at 7 by directing his Tennessee Temple University women's soccer team against UTC at Finley Stadium, and he's counting heavily on new players to help his program improve from its 4-15 season of 2011. Junior defender Kirsten Fowler leads the Temple returners, and redshirt freshman Rebecca Whiteside from Chattanooga Christian in the midfield and true freshmen Courtney Born from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe up front and Liz Adams from Sale Creek (and the Hixson High School team) in the mid/backfield are among other key players. Awotula, a TTU assistant coach the last three years, said Thursday that the Lady Crusaders will have two "secret weapons" arriving by Monday, Melissa Olavarria from Mexico and a standout from Florida, with school starting Wednesday. "I wish I would have them against UTC, but we'll be happy when they get here," he said. Temple plays again next weekend. UTC, which also hosts Tennessee Tech at 1 p.m. Sunday, returns seven starters and five other letter-winners to go with 11 freshmen. Admission is free.