published Thursday, March 21st, 2013

UTC's Steven Fox set for his second PGA event at Bay Hill

  • photo
    University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golfer Steven Fox takes a break from practicing with teammates at the Council Fire Golf Course.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
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Steven Fox bumped into Arnold Palmer at lunch on Wednesday.

Fox went out of his way to thank the golfing legend who is hosting the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill with competition starting this morning.

Palmer is hosting. Fox is playing.

Fox, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion who plays for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, earned a sponsor's invitation from Palmer for his dramatic victory over Michael Weaver last August at Cherry Hills Country Club.

"I talked to him at lunch," Fox said in a text-message. "He remembered me!"

Fox spent about an hour with Palmer earlier this year prior to a Walker Cup practice in Florida.

"It was a great experience getting to meet one of the greatest players of all time in the game," Fox said Tuesday over the phone. "I got him to sign some stuff. It was a neat experience to meet one of the greatest players in the game of all time."

Those meetings and memories are in the past. Fox will begin play in his second PGA Tour event as an amateur -- he missed the cut at Torrey Pines -- along with Brad Fritsch and Robert Streb at 2:05 off No. 1.

"My goal is to always make the cut," Fox said over the phone Tuesday night. "I'm going to play the best I can and put the best score on the board. I'm not going to set any result goals. I'm going to do what I can."

Fox said he is taking a more professional approach this week because he's been through the circus of a PGA Tour event.

"I'm less nervous, and I feel like I belong out here," Fox said. "I know I can play with these guys.

"I put a quote on my phone: 'Believe in yourself, have faith in your abilities, and without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.'"

Fox needed positive reminders from that note and his mental coach Dr. Bob Winters after having the worst score among the five UTC players who played at Auburn last week.

"He's always been good at putting stuff behind him," UTC coach Mark Guhne said. "This week is going to bring out a different level of focus and intensity. He's always been good at rising to the occasion, and this week, I believe he'll take his game up another notch."

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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