The first day of 2013 is a good time to reflect on 2012. The Chattanooga Mocs men's golf team has a lot to smile about in reflection, and much to be excited for turning its eyes upon the New Year. The highlights:
- Steven Fox won the United States Amateur in August. It put an exclamation point on a remarkable 2012 as a Championship year for UTC! Fox's amazing run began as one of 17 in a playoff for 14 spots in match play at the Am. He eked into match play and then worked his way through the bracket. His 4&2 win over World No. 1 Chris Williams got him into the semifinals. He and Michael Weaver (Cal) made it a finals for the ages. Fox trailed a majority of the match including two down with two to play. He finished birdie-par to win on 17 and 18 and extend the match to a 37th hole. His birdie roll on the first playoff hole was true and he earned entry into the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open in 2013. He makes his PGA Tour debut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines January 26-29. He ended 2012 as the 17th-ranked amateur in the world (R&A WAGR).
- Prior to Fox's historic achievement, Stephan Jaeger owned 2012 in the Chattanooga golf annals. His 2012 season was one for the record books. Jaeger became the first Mocs golfer to earn first team All-American in school history. The senior from Munich, Germany ended his career winning medalist honors the Southern Conference and NCAA Bowling Green Regional, both in record fashion. His 11-stroke win at the SoCon Championship ties PGA Tour winner Brad Faxon (Furman) for the largest in league history, and his NCAA Regional winning total of 13-under par (203) is the 54-hole record at UTC. He ended up with school records for wins (4), career scoring average (72.10), par or better rounds (69), rounds in the 60s (29) and finish percentage (78.5%). He is the only three-time SoCon Golfer of the Year and was named PING All-East Region and All-SoCon all four years.
- UTC won its first NCAA Regional as the team joined Jaeger in the winner's column. Behind Jaeger's record-setting performance, the team came back from 10 shots after 18 holes to beat No. 15 Texas A&M by one and No. 3 UCLA, the first round leader, by four. It was a team effort as Fox set the course record at the Club at Olde Stone with an eight-under par 64 in round two finishing tied for third overall at -5. Davis Bunn's hole-in-one on 16 in the final round was the catalyst in the Mocs' comeback bid. The top five finish qualified the team for its second NCAA Championship berth matching the 2009 ending as 18th in the country.
- Chattanooga won its fifth SoCon Championship (1987, 2007, 2008, 2009) running away with a clean sweep of titles here as well. Jaeger's record win is already documented, but the team's 19-shot dominance of the field was the largest win since ETSU in 2001 at Chattanooga Golf & Country Club. FOUR Mocs placed in the top 10 with Jaeger (1st), Robb (T2), Fox (T4) and Johnston (T10). The Mocs's average score was 71.75, as the team shot three-under par on the Daniel Island, S.C., Ralston Creek Course, site of the 2011 Nationwide Tour Championship.
- Five former Mocs made runs at PGA Tour Q School in 2012. Jaeger and Jonathan Hodge, 2008 Second Team All-American, made it all the way to the finals as Bryce Ledford, Tripp Harris and Derek Rende fell just short. Hodge earned full Web.com Tour status in 2013. During the varying stages, Jaeger won his pre-qualifying site, while Hodge captured the first stage at Florence (S.C.) Country Club.
- Fox tied for 10th representing the United States at the World Amateur Team Championship in Antalya, Turkey in October. Fox, Chris Williams (Washington) and Justin Thomas (Alabama) brought home the Eisenhower Trophy.
- Fox was not alone in capturing summer titles. The Scottish duo of Liam Johnston and Chris Robb posted wins as well in their homeland. Johnston fired a final round 62 (-8) to make up a six-stroke deficit to nab the Tennant Cup, while Robb won the North East Open.
- Robb claimed his second collegiate win in Chattanooga's final fall event. His nine-under par 207 effort beat two top 20 and six total top 100 golfer in the event. He carded rounds of 72, 66 and 69 for the win and ended the first half of the season as the team's top-ranked performer at No. 46 (Golfstat).
- Jaeger not only excelled on the course, but also in the classroom. He earned Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar honors for his second straight year. The award is only available to juniors and seniors and the Mocs have had four in a row with Rende in 2009-10 and Jaeger in 2011-12.