Chattanooga's Steven Fox making his way to The Masters - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga's Steven Fox making his way to The Masters

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Young golfers around the world grow up pretending to make the putt that wins The Masters.

They walk themselves through different scenarios and choreograph their celebration.

Steven Fox was no different growing up in Hendersonville. In fact, he's no different now at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

"I still do that at practice," the Mocs' senior said. "If you're a sports fan, you're always recreating something."

Fox experienced his own moment worth recreating last summer, sinking a dramatic putt to win the U.S. Amateur Championship at Cherry Hills in a sudden death playoff.

That stunning victory, the first-ever for a Chattanooga golfer, is now making Fox's wildest childhood dreams come true.

He's played in two PGA Tour events. He's met Arnold Palmer. He's represented his country in international competition overseas.

And next week he'll play in The Masters at Augusta National.

"The first time I was down there I wasn't myself," said Fox, who was granted the privilege of playing several practice rounds over the past few months. "I was taking in everything about the course. The history. The layout. Everything.

"It's just really hard to be yourself around there."

And that was on an empty course.

The scenery will be a bit different when he steps back on the course Monday with 50,000 people watching his every move.

"A first time player? I don't think it sinks in for them until Thursday morning comes around," said Chattanooga head coach Mark Guhne, who will attend a round as a spectator. "All of the sudden you walk over to the first tee from that putting green and you think, 'Oh no. What do I do now?'"

That moment for Fox will include defending Masters' champ Bubba Watson, who is paired with him in the first two rounds.

"I told Fox it's probably best not to watch (Bubba hit his drive)," Guhne joked. "He doesn't need to see that. He'll be able to hear from the crowd whether it was good or not."

Luckily, Fox has a few attributes that could help him.

"Don't ask me how he does it, whether he's nervous or not, he doesn't show it," said former UTC assistant and current Dalton State head golf coach Ben Rickett, who will serve as Fox's caddy. "It's an amazing skill to have, and one I think will be important at Augusta."

An aspect of that cool demeanor is the ability to shrug off adversity.

Fox has struggled at times in collegiate play as a senior and missed the cut in both PGA Tour events he played, but he never seems affected by it.

"He's the only guy I know that can shoot 85 one day and 65 the next, and I mean that as a huge compliment," said Guhne. "Most of us will carry that baggage over with us until the next day. Steven is very good at letting stuff like that go."

To a degree, Fox will be letting his expectations go on the game's biggest stage.

He'd love to be around for all four rounds in his first career major, but more than anything he plans to savor every aspect of the experience.

"I'm not going to set a result goal to make the cut or get a top ten," he said. "I'm going to go out there and give it 100-percent, and whatever happens, happens.

"I just can't wait to get down there on Sunday. It's going to be the week of a lifetime."

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