UTC in tough Preview field

UTC in tough Preview field

September 23rd, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sports - College

Steven Fox is a member of the UTC golf team and U.S. Amateur champion.

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's golf team played against seven Top 25 teams in the Carpet Capital Collegiate tournament and finished in seventh place.

The Mocs' schedule gets even more difficult today, when they begin the GolfWeek/Ping Preview at the Capital City Club Crabapple Course in Alpharetta, Ga., against 13 teams ranked in the GolfWeek preseason Top 25.

The Mocs are the lowest ranked team on that list at No. 24, and San Diego State is the only unranked team in the field. The event is so named because it's a potential preview of the NCAA championship tournament at the course where the title will be won next June.

"This is the No. 1 field in college golf other than the national championship," said UTC coach Mark Guhne, whose team is playing in its third Preview. "It continues to validate the fact that we have one of the better programs in the country. We still have room to climb."

Seven of eight teams that reached match play in the 2012 NCAA national finale are playing at Alpharetta. The Mocs tied for 18th in that spring tournament.

"We start out with two of the best college tournaments around," said UTC senior Steven Fox, who won the U.S. Amateur in August. "Being a mid-major school, we prove that we can play with these other schools. We did that last year."

The Mocs' lineup will be a little different than at The Farm in the Carpet Capital Collegiate. Freshman Kory Webb stole a spot from Davis Bunn during qualifying.

"Kory shot under par in the first three rounds of qualifying, and we pulled him from the fourth round because he had an 11-shot lead," Guhne said. "Kory is a very good player and he's going to get his feet wet in the biggest tournament of college golf. We're telling him he's going because he deserves to."

The Preview also will give Fox a chance to see California senior Michael Weaver, who lost to him in the U.S. Amateur final match after leading 2 up with two holes to play.

"It will be interesting," Fox said. "We talked after the round when we gave thank-you speeches. I think it will be like the Denver game we went to, and our friendship will continue from there."