Brooks Thomas punches his ticket to the U.S. Ama­teur.

Walker County Messenger - - Front Page -

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)

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