Fox's rising star

RON MANZ -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:23 AM ET

It is becoming the norm to see a young teen vaulting to the forefront of the golf world ahead of older and more experienced opponents. Fifteen-year-old Darren Wallace of Langley, B.C., proved it when he won the Canadian Amateur and became the youngest golfer in this year's Canadian Open.

He missed the cut with rounds of 83 and 82 but still played against the big boys, while many of his older contemporaries could only watch on TV.

Mitch Fox from the Highwood Golf and Country Club in High River may not have reached that plateau of success but he has engineered one of the most consistent seasons on the Alberta golf scene this year. And, the similarities are striking, considering he's just 16.

The Grade 12 student at Foothills Composite high school in Okotoks started the year with a goal of making the Canadian junior national team. He accomplished that feat, competing in a Ryder Cup competition against Ireland last week in Ontario.

Canada lost to the Irish squad by three points.

"I lost both my partnered matches but I won my singles match 4 and 2," Fox said, after returning to Calgary on the weekend. "Playing on the Canadian team was my focus this season right from the start and I'm very happy I achieved it."

Fox, like Wallace, had an outstanding Canadian amateur this year. He made it all the way to the third round in match play against the men.

He was fifth after three days at the Alberta men's amateur and ended 15th overall when it concluded.

He won three Maple Junior Tour events and was third in the Future Links Western Canadian Championship at Cottonwood. His age was not a factor.

"This has been the best year of my career so far," said Fox. "I didn't win a lot of tournaments but I had a lot of top-10 finishes. My confidence level this year has improved significantly.

"I worked very hard getting ready for this year and throughout the summer to improve my swing and putting. I know I can hit any shot now I need and I don't get into any trouble. When my putting is on, I shoot really low scores."

Fox credits Dean Spriddle, his coach from Lethbridge, for helping to take his game to another level.

"I worked with Dean about three times a month and he made some changes that produced a more sound and consistent swing for me. He worked on my timing and now my mechanics are much better and the results I registered this year prove that."

Brent Ellenton, Alberta Golf executive director, said he's impressed with Fox's improvement.

"Mitch really hit the radar screen in Alberta Golf last year," Ellenton said. "Here was this little guy about 5 ft. 2 in. shooting par scores at the Alberta Open and finishing in the top 10. From 100 yards in he was and is magic."

Fox leaves for Victoria Friday to play in the Maple Junior Tour Championship, his final major competition of this golf season in Canada.


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