Masters experience already memorable for UTC's Steven Fox - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Masters experience already memorable for UTC's Steven Fox

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UTC senior Steven Fox (right) walks with former UTC golfer and current PGA Tour caddy Gareth Lord on Tuesday at Augusta National. (Photo Courtesy: UTC Athletics/ UTC senior Steven Fox (right) walks with former UTC golfer and current PGA Tour caddy Gareth Lord on Tuesday at Augusta National. (Photo Courtesy: UTC Athletics/

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRCB) -- It's a stage and tradition unlike any other, but Steven Fox has remained pretty care free this week at Augusta National.

Of course, there's a little less pressure on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior.

"It's nice right now not having to play for a paycheck every week," Fox said during his time in the media room Wednesday. "It's nice still being under my dad's income right now. I take (these PGA Tour events) as freebies. It's a learning experience, obviously."

Part of his Masters early Masters education came courtesy of three-time champ Phil Mickelson.

The pair joined PGA pros Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner for a practice round over the weekend, and Fox made sure to snag all the secrets he could from a guy who has "made just about every putt" at the storied course.

"Phil was showing places and putts that only he would know about. His little black book that he has, it's phenomenal what he has in there from all the years he's played," Fox said. "He showed me around a little bit. The best advice was probably to stay patient and take it one shot, and know where to miss out here."

Fox picked up more pointers during a nine-hole practice round with Henrik Stenson and Graeme McDowell on Tuesday, then played Wednesday's Par-3 Contest with Brandt Snedeker and Luke Donald. 

In the annual mid-week tradition, Fox finished an impressive 1-under to tie for 15th overall on the nine-hole course. Following his round on Twitter, he called the par-3 contest "the most laid back round of golf ever!"

His walk alongside giants continues Thursday when he tees off with Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter and defending Masters champ Bubba Watson at 10:34 a.m. ET.

"I've never played in the U.S. Amateur, so maybe he could tell me a thing or two and I'll tell him a thing or two," Watson said about playing with the reigning U.S. Am champ. "But we're playing golf, so he's going to focus on his job and I'm going to focus on my job.

"If he asks questions, obviously I'll tell him. I'll talk to anybody, and obviously the more birdies I make the more I like to talk."

Fox is feeling as confident as he has since winning last year's amateur title at Cherry Hills. He said he got away from his routine and his care-free approach during a dismal fall NCAA season, but a sit down with UTC coach Mark Guhne before Augusta re-energized his game.

He built some momentum last week with a runner-up finish at a collegiate tournament in Mississippi, earning him SoCon Player of the Week honors.

Now he hopes his best Masters memories are yet to come when the fun turns into a competition.

"Obviously playing with Phil, Keegan and Dufner as the rookie was a little nerve-racking, but really I haven't been too nervous at all," Fox said. "I guess the galleries will be different with Tiger (Woods) playing behind my Thursday and playing with Bubba and Ian, but it's going to be a fun day.

"I enjoy playing in front of crowds and I'm looking forward to it."

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