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Tennessee Match Play: Fox, Brown win titles
15 Jul 2011
see also: View results for Tennessee Match Play, Hillwood Country Club

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LOUDON, Tenn. (July 15, 2011) -- Hendersonville’s Steven Fox and Loudon’s Jim Brown captured the 2011 TGA Match Play and Senior Match Play Championships which were conducted concurrently at Greg Norman-designed Tennessee National in Loudon, TN.

The morning’s semifinal matches for the Match Play Championship saw Steven Fox defeat top-seeded Todd Burgan by a 3 and 2 margin. Burgan, the 2009 TGA Match Play Champion, was gaining ground on Fox until he holed his second shot on the par-4 fifteenth hole for an eagle which put Fox dormie. Burgan rolled in a lengthy birdie putt on the next hole, but it was no use as Fox also rolled in his ten foot birdie putt to secure the match. In the other semifinal match, 2007 TGA Match Play Champion, Spencer Provow, defeated Steve Johnson by a 2 and 1 margin. Provow won three of the first four holes, but Johnson made a charge on the back nine to get back in the match, however Provow was able to close out the match on the seventeenth hole.

The final match to determine the TGA Senior Match Play Championship was also conducted during today’s morning session of matches. Jim Brown and Mike Nixon, both of whom are former finalists of this championship, played a very close match with both players leading at various points in the match, but neither ever had more than a 1-up lead. Nixon took his first lead in the match when he birdied the par-5 fourth hole, but Brown came right back with a birdie of his own at the par-4 fifth hole to square the match. After exchanging wins at holes 6, 8 and 11, Nixon took a 1-up lead into the short par-4 fifteenth hole. Nixon ended up bogeying the fifteenth and sixteenth holes which allowed Brown to take a 1-up lead into the par-3 seventeenth hole. Nixon and Brown halved the remaining two holes which allowed Brown to secure the 1-up victory and the 2011 Senior Match Play Championship. This was great redemption for Brown who was defeated in the finals of the 2008 event which was also held at Tennessee National.

After a quick lunch and warm up session, the finals of the TGA Match Play Championship between Spencer Provow and Steven Fox were ready to get underway. Provow got off to a quick start on the par-4 first hole as Fox conceded his birdie putt after making a bogey on the opening hole. After halving the second hole, both players hit the green at the long par-3 third hole. Provow almost made his long birdie attempt which narrowly missed the hole. Fox was left with a tricky downhill 20-foot birdie putt of his own which he ended up running by the hole six feet. Fox missed his par putt which gave Provow a 2-up lead after three holes. Fox didn’t allow Provow to gain any more ground as he quickly came back with birdies on the fourth and fifth holes to bring the match back to all square. The sixth hole was halved with pars. On the short par-3 seventh hole, Fox pulled his approach shot which caused his ball to end up at the bottom of a depression just left of the hole and would make for a very difficult up and down. Provow hit the green and safely two-putted for his par which left Fox with a must make 15-footer for his par to halve the hole. Fox missed his par attempt and Provow now had the lead again. Both players halved the eighth and ninth holes with pars and Provow maintained his 1-up lead into the back nine. On the tenth hole, Provow pulled his tee shot into a fairway bunker on the left side of the hole. He was unable to hit the green with his approach shot and was left with a difficult 40-yard pitch shot to the front right hole location. Fox hit safely to the green and then narrowly missed his birdie putt. Provow proceeded to miss his par attempt which gave Fox the hole and squared up the match. The next three holes were halved which brought the match to the reachable par-5 fourteenth hole. Both players went for the green in two with Fox’s approach just short of the green and Provow’s just off the green to the left of the hole. Both players chipped up, but Provow was the only one able to roll in his birdie. Provow maintained his 1-up lead through the next three holes and stood on the tee of the final hole needing only to halve the hole for the victory. Both players hit the fairway on the par-4 final hole and hit the green with their approach shots. Provow was left with a 20-foot birdie putt to win the match which he left a few inches short of the hole. Fox’s approach shot ended up past the hole which left him with a left-to-right 10-footer to extend the match. Fox drained the birdie putt to send the match into extra holes. Fox was able to carry his momentum into the first playoff hole and hit his tee shot down the middle of the fairway while Provow’s 3-wood ended up in the right rough. Provow’s lie in the rough was extremely difficult and he was unable to reach the green with his approach shot and was left with a 25-yard pitch shot to the front right hole location. Fox’s approach shot stopped hole high which gave him a makeable birdie chance. Provow had no green to work with and his pitch shot carried ten feet past the hole. Fox two putted for his par which opened the door for Provow to make his par putt and extend the match. Provow was unable to convert his par and that was good enough to give Steven Fox the victory in 19 holes. Fox, a college standout at the University of Chattanooga, has had numerous top finishes in prior state events including a Low Amateur finish at the 2010 State Open, but this win marks his first state title.

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