published Friday, September 7th, 2012

Carpet Capital Collegiate includes NCAA champs

Steven Fox is a member of the UTC golf team and U.S. Amateur champion.
Steven Fox is a member of the UTC golf team and U.S. Amateur champion.
Photo by Staff File Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Carpet Capital Collegiate

Where: The Farm Golf Club

When: Friday through Sunday

Entry fee: Free

Who: Six teams in the preseason Top-25 poll plus three others getting votes including UTC

Individuals to watch: UTC senior Steven Fox is the U.S. Amateur champion. Texas sophomore Jordan Speith won two straight U.S. Junior Championships. Alabama sophomore Justin Thomas reached the semifinals of the U.S. Am.

Other area connections: Georgia junior Keith Mitchell is from Chattanooga, Tennessee senior Jay Vandeventer prepped at Baylor, and MTSU senior Brett Patterson is from McMinnville.

Directions: From I-75 take Exit No. 336. Go left on Hwy 41 North for about one mile and take a left on Old Lafayette Road (Peeples Funeral Home is on the right). Go about one mile and take a left on Mill Creek Road. Go about two miles and the entrance to The Farm Golf Club will be on the left. Follow South Goosehill Road to the Clubhouse.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Steven Fox is the U.S. Amateur champion.

He's also a bit rusty.

With the whirlwind of celebrations following his victory, including a ceremony with Gov. Bill Haslam and Sen. Bob Corker, Fox went nearly two weeks without hitting a golf ball.

"I'm still on a high right now," Fox said Thursday. "I've been getting a lot of calls; my parents and coaches are getting them, too. It's a lot of fun and nothing bad."

Fox will make his first competitive swing since draining the winning putt at Cherry Hills when the Mocs begin play in the Carpet Capital Collegiate today at The Farm Golf Club outside Dalton.

"I'm really excited to start playing again," Fox said. "I can put all of this behind me and start from scratch."

But he is the U.S. Amateur champion, which carries a heavy burden of responsibility. It also marks him as the man whom every other collegiate golfer wants to topple.

"I'm sure there will be a few awkward looks, but I think most guys will say, 'Congrats,'" Fox said. "I'm going to try and put the U.S. Am behind me, not think about it and play my own game."

Fox and the Mocs will be stars of the Carpet Capital Collegiate. But the tournament regained its status as the Masters of college golf by returning to a 15-team field instead of a 12-team field for this year.

Defending NCAA champion Texas is in the field for the first time since 2006. NCAA runner-up Alabama, which has won the event three times, is attending as well.

The Carpet Capital field includes six teams ranked in the Top 25 of the preseason coaches' poll and three teams getting votes, which is where the Mocs fall.

"It is certainly one of the best tournaments in the country," Texas coach John Fields said. "I've lived the alternative without a national championship, and this is much better having won it last year."

"But that was last year."

That leaves the Longhorns as the team target.

"There's a lot of anticipation in our program, and we have lots going on," Fields said. "We're excited about coming to Dalton and getting to play against the best teams in the country."

UTC's Fox admitted that his "practice hasn't been great" and his personal expectations "aren't high," but he's eager.

"I'm really excited to start playing again," he said. "I've always loved playing in team events."

about David Uchiyama...

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 ...

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