The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golf team has created a new term: Foxed.
The genesis is how senior Steven Fox plays the game with a seemingly innate ability to come back from precarious situations and succeed.
Fox beat Chris Williams 4 and 2 in the quarterfinals Friday of the U.S. Amateur Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club outside Denver.
"I was getting up and down from everywhere," Fox said via cell phone. "Actually, everything went right today. I hit the ball well and the putts fell."
The Hendersonville, Tenn., resident toppled Williams, the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, after easing into the 64-man match-play field as the 63rd seed.
Fox built an early lead and never relinquished it. He went 2 up through four holes and was 4 up by the time he and Williams, who plays for the University of Washington, made the turn. Fox closed out Williams with a birdie on No. 16 to shoot the equivalent of 3 under par.
"I got up early and kept that going the whole round," Fox said. "I knew he'd put up a lot of fight. Maybe it wasn't his best day."
Fox has taken the Chattanooga logo on his hat, bag and driver cover deeper into any USGA competition than any player in UTC's Division I era, which began in the fall of 1977, according to coach emeritus Reed Sanderlin. Fox had that mark by reaching the quarterfinals.
"In all that time we never had anybody go that far," Sanderlin said. "It's just incredible. We've developed a good program. We're so proud of everything that's happened in the last few years."
Other Chattanooga-area golfers have had recent success in U.S. Amateurs. Former McCallie School and University of Georgia golfer Adam Mitchell reached the semifinals of the 2008 U.S. Am at Pinehurst No. 2. Former Baylor School and Alabama golfer Brooke Pancake fell in the semifinals of the 2011 U.S. Women's Amateur at Rhode Island Country Club.
Former Baylor and Vanderbilt golfer Luke List reached the 36-hole final match of the 2004 U.S. Am before falling to Ryan Moore at Winged Foot.
The next obstacle for Fox is Brandon Hagy, a junior at the University of California, who beat Cheng-Tsun Pan of Taiwan 4 and 3.
"I'll go out with the same mindset I've had for every other match: Don't get too far ahead of yourself," said Fox, whose father, Alan, is his caddie this week. "I think it helps playing all the SEC teams and the top 10 teams we do, because we go against the best players in the country."
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 ...