Brooks Thomas punches his ticket to the U.S. Amateur.
Chattanooga Mocs graduate Brooks Thomas was a guy who saved the best for last. His final campaign this past season was strong, ending in All-Southern Conference honors and it has since carried over into his post-graduate play.
The Chattanooga native, and 2013 state champion at Ringgold High School, earned a berth in the United States Amateur later this summer and did so in dramatic fashion on Tuesday at Willow Creek Golf Club in Knoxville.
Thomas’ 4-under total 136 put him in a playoff with Turk Pettit and Chip Thomas and a birdie on the first hole of extended time punched his ticket.
Brooks opened with a 3-under 67. He followed with 69 on the 36-hole grind to reach the playoff. On the playoff hole - a par4 - his tee shot found the rough, while his competitors were safely on the fairway. His approach ended up 40 feet from the hole, but the lengthy putt found the cup for a three.
He becomes the first Moc since Steven Fox to qualify for the prestigious championship. Fox went on to win the U.S. Amateur in 2012 at Cherry Hills in Colorado as the 63rd seed, ironically enough, with an 18-foot birdie putt on the 37th hole of the finals.
“It was a grind all day and just to finally to be done with it after 37 holes, it was just awesome,” Thomas said. “One of the main reasons I chose to come to UTC in the first place was Fox’s win in 2012. It was such a huge accomplishment.”
The U.S. Amateur is Aug. 14-20 at famed Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., in suburban Los Angeles.
“He earned this spot,” UTC head coach Mark Guhne said. “The work he put in all four years…he was not outworked I can tell you that. To sum up my thoughts on Brooks into a word…proud. Just very, very proud of him and excited to follow him.”
The Mocs qualified for the NCAA Championships at Riviera in spring of 2012. Thomas signed with the Chattanooga program in the fall of 2012.
A senior this past season, Thomas graduated in May after earning All-Southern Conference honors in 2017. He started 11 of 12 appearances for the Mocs and 28 of his 31 scorecards counted toward the team tally.
He was second on the teams in scoring average with a careerbest 73.15. He had 14 rounds of par or better with a team-high seven rounds in the 60s. He had one win, the USA Individual (3-over par 216) - his first career collegiate victory - a pair of top fives and three top tens. He also set new career bests for 18 (68), 36 (138) and 54hole scores (211).
He also made the Dean’s List and Athletics Director’s Honor Roll, along with making the Southern Conference Honor Roll.
Thomas won the 2013 Class AAA state title for Ringgold, one of four tournament titles he captured that season.
2013 Ringgold High School graduate and 2017 UTC graduate Brooks Thomas used a 40-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole last week in Knoxville to qualify for the 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship. (Photo courtesy/GoMocs.com)