Chattanooga senior Steven Fox, who won the U.S. Amateur last month, has departed for Turkey, where he’ll take part in the World Amateur Team Championships Oct. 4-7 at the Antalya Golf Club’s PGA Sultan Course and Cornelia Golf Club.
UTC coach Mark Guhne thinks Fox will play well, despite a readjustment period after he returned to college golf.
“He’s still going through it,” Guhne said. “We talked about that. He told me the other night, ‘coach I just want it to get back to where it was.’ I told him it’s never going to get back to where it was. What we have to do is get back to where it is.”
Guhne walked with Fox during his final round in the PING/Golfweek Preview in Alpharetta, Ga. last week. Fox fired a 2-under-par 70, his low round of the fall and only his second under par since winning the Amateur.
“We had a lot of fun,” Guhne said. “He hit a lot of creative shots and I think began to get back to the sort of golf he knows he can play. I think for a while there he felt like he had to live up to the title of U.S. Amateur champion. But besides the fans, no one cares about that. The players he’s competing against don’t care. You want to do well because you think people are watching you, and they are, but those aren’t the people he has to worry about.”
Guhne thinks Fox will carry the momentum of that final round in the Preview to Turkey.
“I think he’ll play well, I really do,” Guhne said. “Like I said, I think he’s making the adjustments.”
Fox’s teammates in Turkey are Justin Thomas, 19, of Goshen, Ky.; and Chris Williams, 21, of Moscow, Idaho.
Jim Vernon of Pasadena, Calif., who was the USGA president in 2008-2009 and served on the USGA Executive Committee for seven years, will be the captain of the USA Team.
“These three young men have shown that they are proven competitors and we salute them for the accomplishments that led to their selection,” Vernon said. “I am honored to be their captain and we look forward to representing the USA in Turkey in October.”
Fox defeated Michael Weaver of Fresno, Calif., in 37 holes in the championship match of the U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo. He advanced to the round of 16 at the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and is a two-time All-Southern Conference selection. He tied for fourth at the Southern Conference Championship and tied for third at the NCAA Bowling Green Regional. In 2011, Fox won the Tennessee Golf Association (TGA) Match Play Championship.
Thomas, a sophomore at the University of Alabama who is No. 2 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, advanced to the semifinals of the 2012 U.S. Amateur. He won the 2012 Haskins Award and the 2012 Jack Nicklaus Award, both of which recognize the nation’s top collegiate golfer, as well as the 2012 Phil Mickelson Award, as the outstanding freshman in Division I men’s golf. Thomas won four college tournaments during the 2011-12 season, including the 2012 NCAA Athens Regional, and was named a first-team All-American. Thomas won the 2012 Jones Cup and was also the runner-up at the 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship at Egypt Valley Country Club in Ada, Mich.
Williams, who holds the No. 1 position in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, was a quarterfinalist at the 2012 U.S. Amateur, and a member of the USA Team at the 2011 Walker Cup Match. He won the 2012 Western Amateur, while also earning stroke-play medalist honors there in 2011 and 2012. The University of Washington senior earned 2012 first-team All-American honors, winning two tournaments in 2011-12, including the NCAA Southwest Regional. Williams won the 2011 Sahalee Players Championship and the 2011 Pacific Coast Amateur. He also played in the 2011 U.S. Open, missing the cut by two strokes and he was a quarterfinalist at the 2010 U.S. Amateur Public Links.
A record 72 teams have entered the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship. The biennial competition has been played since 1958, with the winner taking home the Eisenhower Trophy. France won the 2010 title in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by four strokes over Denmark and five over the USA. The USA last won the championship in 2004, and has captured the trophy a record 13 times.
The World Amateur Team title is determined by four days of stroke play. A country may field a team of two or three players. In each round, the total of the two lowest scores constitutes the team score for the round. The four-day total is the team’s score for the championship.
The championship is played in conjunction with the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship, which will be played Sept. 27-30 at Gloria Golf Club (Old and New Courses), also in Antalya. The Turkish Golf Federation will serve as host of the 2012 championships.
The World Amateur Team Championships are conducted by the International Golf Federation, which was founded in 1958 to encourage the international development of the game and to employ golf as a vehicle to foster friendship and sportsmanship. The IGF, the International Olympic Committee’s international federation for golf, comprises the national governing bodies of golf in more than 125 countries, and it will conduct the golf competition at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.