Lee University senior Matt Emery from Franklin, Tenn., became the first Flames golfer ever to qualify for a U.S. Amateur Championship when he shot a 36-hole 138 at The Camargo Club in Cincinnati and earned a berth in the Aug. 12-18 tournament at Brookline, Mass. Steven Fox from Hendersonville, Tenn., and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is the defending champion. Only 144 spots in the U.S. Amateur are awarded from more than 7,000 who attempted to qualify. Emery was the runner-up to medalist Will Seger of Jasper, Ind., at Cincinnati, which produced a third U.S. Am participant in Michael Kelley of Westerville, Ohio, with a 140. “I am so thrilled for Matt,” Lee coach John Maupin said in a school release Wednesday. “It’s hard to put into words what an unbelievable accomplishment this is. … When it comes to amateur golf, it doesn’t get any bigger than this tournament. There is an amazing amount of history and prestige that are associated with the U.S. Amateur.” The Am starts with two days of stroke-play qualifying, and then 64 players begin match play. “I am so proud that Matt will be representing our university and golf program at the U.S. Amateur,” Maupin said. “Over the years we have had several guys attempt to qualify, and for Matt to be the first to make it is pretty special. He has worked very hard on his game to get to this point, and I know it’s a gratifying feeling. Out of all the things that he has accomplished here, this will certainly rank near the top. … Our whole team is excited for Matt, and we look forward to rooting him on during the tournament.”
* P.J. Shields from LaFayette High School, Brandon Parrish and Adrian Patino from North Murray, Drew Tankersley from Murray County and Gavin Reeves from Heritage have signed enrollment papers to continue their golf careers with the new program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. GNTC coach Jared Willerson said Shields “is one of the best ball strikers I’ve seen. He brings an amazingly solid game. And Brandon is a fine golfelr who more than likely is going to bring the leadership ability a team like ours is going to need on and off the links. This is a solid core for our inaugural run. Adrian, Drew and Gavin all bring some solid qualities to this team. Adrian is our scraper, Drew is a big ball striker, and Gavin has shown some amazing flashes of brilliance this year.” The Bobcats will practice and play home matches at LaFayette Golf Course.
- Chattanooga’s Lighthouse Lookouts/Athletic Shop men’s 50-over slowpitch softball team finally lost in its age group this year — twice in fact, to the Montgomery Swarm by a total of three runs — but bounced back to win four games in bracket play and earn the NSA Senior World Series championship last weekend at Boaz, Ala. The Lighthouse Lookouts have won four tournaments in 2013 and are 20-2 against senior teams. They beat defending champion D.T. Express of Atlanta 23-12 in the winners-bracket final and 18-13 in the title game, when Mike Wood was 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs, Jeff Jones and Al Cox each went 3-for-3 and Butch Womack also was 3-for-4. Womack and Van Shumaker each was 4-for-4 in the first defeat of D.T. Express, and Shumaker was the offensive MVP of the tournament in addition to playing splendid shortstop. He hit .821 with six home runs, while Bobby Adams batted .741, Wood hit .708 with eight homers and 25 RBIs, Womack also hit .708 and Kevin Highsmith and Jones hit .684 and .680 in likewise earning All-World honors. Mark Talley and Cox batted .636 and .632 for manager Rex Elmore’s team.
- Former UTC star Lanni Marchant will run the marathon for her native Canada in the IAAF World Championships set for Aug. 10-18 in Moscow. This comes a year after she challenged Canada’s decision not to send her to the Olympics despite her Olympic-standard time for 26.2 miles, a relatively new distance for her at the time. The 2006 Southern Conference cross country runner of the year and 2007 SoCon female of the year excelled at distances of 3,000 to 10,000 meters in college. Marchant will be one of 46 Canadians at the event in Russia.