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Tour Report: Hossler takes success in stride

PGATOUR.com
Hossler birdies No. 7

Amateur Beau Hossler chips in for birdie on the par-4 seventh.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

SAN FRANCISCO — Beau Hossler came to The Olympic Club with the goal of earning low amateur honors.

For a few holes on Friday, though, the 17-year-old had fans conjuring up images of Francis Ouimet as Hossler grabbed a share of the lead at the U.S. Open and owned it by himself for one.

Hossler’s birdie at No. 1, his second in a three-hole stretch, lifted him to the top of the leaderboard just like the amateur Ouimet finished there in 1913. Hossler stayed there, tied with the likes of Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods until he played his next five holes in 5 over.

Even so, Hossler fought back, chipping in for his third birdie of the day at the seventh hole. The high school senior will start the third round tied for ninth at 3 over and gets a 5:05 p.m. ET date with Raphael Jacquelin for his reward.

"I was pretty excited about (seeing my name at the top of the leaderboard), but then again I had another 40 holes at least to be playing in the tournament," Hossler said. "You got along way to go and you can’t get too wrapped up on where you’re at.”

Hossler, who opened with a round of even par and shot 73 on Friday, is one of three amateurs to make the cut. Jordan Spieth, who just completed his freshman year at Texas where Hossler plans to go to college, and Patrick Cantlay are tied for 59th.

"I just felt pretty comfortable out there," Hossler said. "Pretty nervous starting the round. Just like any other event I’m normally pretty nervous on the first tee, but once I got through the middle of the round I found out I had the lead. After hole one I felt pretty comfortable.

"I felt I was getting into a little bit of a zone. Unfortunately I kind of lost it coming in. I was able to salvage one on 7 with that chip in, but it was pretty solid overall. Just really glad to get it to 2 under through 10 holes."

Hossler, who carries a 4.0 grade point average at Rancho Santa Margarita High, admits that if someone had told him a 17-year-old would be leading the 112th U.S. Open "I would probably tell them they were nuts."

When he came to the Olympic Club to play in his second U.S. Open, Hossler thought earning low amateur honors was a possibility — but after Friday’s performance, it’s now a very real goal. He missed the cut at Congressional a year ago but learned a lot from the experience.

"I really am glad with how I played the last couple days but I got a long way to go," Hossler said. "There’s some things I really got to tighten up for the next couple days because I know the course is going to get harder. I feel like I’m in a good spot for me to reach my goal of low amateur. Then again I want to make sure I’m playing the best that I can and with the whole field and everything as well."

Hossler started playing golf when he was 8 and qualified for his first U.S. Amateur when he was in eighth grade. He recently lost the state high school championship by a single shot but is prospering on a much bigger stage at The Olympic Club this week.

"I feel like it suits really well to my game," Hossler said. "I feel like I drive the ball pretty well. It’s a really difficult driving course. Few holes I think are, they’re just tough. You’re not going to find holes like this on any other course, not this I’ve experienced.

"But I think being able to shape it off the tee is huge for me, into the hills like everybody has been talking about how it slopes away from the doglegs, that’s been huge. Trying to keep it below the hole on my approach shots, that’s really been key to me."


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