Lee University senior <strong>Matt Emery</strong> 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. <strong>Steven Fox</strong> 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 <strong>Will Seger</strong> of Jasper, Ind., at Cincinnati, which produced a third U.S. Am participant in <strong>Michael Kelley</strong> of Westerville, Ohio, with a 140. “I am so thrilled for Matt,” Lee coach <strong>John Maupin</strong> 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.”
*<strong> P.J. Shields</strong> from LaFayette High School, <strong>Brandon Parrish</strong> and <strong>Adrian Patino</strong> from North Murray, <strong>Drew Tankersley</strong> from Murray County and <strong>Gavin Reeves</strong> from Heritage have signed enrollment papers to continue their golf careers with the new program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. GNTC coach <strong>Jared Willerson</strong> 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.