CHATTANOOGA — Steven Fox fired a 2-under par 68 in Round 3 to take the lead at the 98th annual Tennessee State Amateur golf tournament with a 54-hole total of 203.
Fox, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, currently stands at 7-under par for the tournament.
Coming into No. 17 Thursday at 9-under par, Fox had a manageable lead ahead of Round 2 leader Grant Milner. The former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golfer then double bogeyed his last hole to cut his lead to just one stroke over Carson Jacobs, who has a 54-hole total of 204.
Defending champion Tim Jackson is just four strokes out of the lead tied for third at 207. Also at 207 is Ryan Thornton and Round 2 leader Milner.
“I don’t feel like much changed. I played well on the front nine, I just missed a few putts and shots on the back,” said Milner about changes in the course for Wednesday to Thursday. “My speed was off today, on long putts especially.”
“I finally played well on the front side. Today was my best day swinging until number 18, which I doubled,” commented Fox, who played in The Masters, the British Open and the U.S. Open this summer. “I am going into tomorrow (Friday) just like every other day this week. I am just going to keep my number in mind.”
Lee University All-American Hunter Vest is the lone local survivor in the field as four others didn’t make the cut.
Vest was just 1-over through the first two rounds, but the former Walker Valley standout slipped to 7-over 77 Thursday, tying him with three other golfers for 46th place with a 218 tally.
Former Walker Valley and current Young Harris College player Clark Melton just missed the 145 cut with a 72-75 — 147 tally. Evan Ball, who is heading to play at Tennessee Wesleyan after a standout career at Polk County, had a 72-78 — 150.
Current Cleveland High senior Connor Caprara was just one stroke back of Ball with a 76-75 — 151 total. Cody Godfrey, who played at Walker Valley before moving on to TWC, carded a 78-77 — 155 for the first two rounds.
Today marks the final round of the event being held at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club. With 65 golfers all vying for the title, it will be a crucial round for many. Several are in contention to win, and as history shows, it just comes down to who can hit fairways and greens.
For complete tournament information and scores, visit www.tnamateur.com.