To get you ready for the 2013 Masters, we are breaking down the amateurs and first-timers that will play at Augusta National starting on Thursday, April 11.
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Hometown: Hendersonville, Tenn.
How he qualified: Won, 2012 U.S. Amateur
Steven Fox was the unlikeliest of U.S. Amateur champions, but perhaps the most deserving.
Not only did he survive a playoff for one of the final spots in the 64-man, match-play bracket, Fox had to shoot 64, including an eagle on his final hole, to avoid a playoff at the sectional qualifier.
He ‘Foxed’ Michael Weaver of Fresno, Calif., in 37 holes at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills, Colo., in August, after being 2 down with two holes remaining. Fox, the No. 63 seed in the 2012 Amateur, made a 15-footer to claim the biggest title in amateur golf, the Havemeyer Trophy.
After playing in his first Amateur championship, Fox went back to Chattanooga to play for the Mocs in his final college season. He also helped Team USA claim the World Amateur Team Championship in early October and battled for a third place showing at the Copa de las Americas at Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami.
As you can tell his, college season has taken bit of a backseat.
“I miss a lot, so it’s hard to balance everything,” Fox said.
Fox is No. 136 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings in six events this season. His best finish was in the fall at the AutoTrader.com Collegiate Classic, where he finished T-2.
Two weeks ago, Fox played in his second PGA Tour event at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He gets multiple exemptions after winning the Amateur, including the year’s first three majors.
He headed back to Chattanooga last week to catch up on classes and schoolwork – because, yes, he is still a student.
“I’m not in town much. I’ve missed three or four weeks of school already this semester,” Fox said.
This week he is playing against Alan Dunbar of Northern Ireland in the Georgia Cup. The annual 18-hole match between the U.S. Amateur champion and the British Amateur Champion is held at the Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta, Ga., the week before the Masters.
Fox is looking forward to Augusta, though, especially the par-3 contest.
“Wedges and short game are the best part of my game so I have high expectations for that, but I can’t wait to get out there,” Fox said. “I know the whole week is going to be fun, but I think the par-3 contest is going to be one of the best things.
The first tee is going to be an experience for Fox, too. He related the words of PGA Tour golfer Scott Stallings, who like Fox uses Brad Rose as a swing coach: ” ‘It’s not nerves. It’s something that you’ve never felt before,’ and I’m kind of anxious to see what it’s like.
“I can’t wait to be on that first tee.”