The U.S. Open is turning out to be like an R-rated movie: sure, you can sneak in if you're underage, but you're likely to see some things that'll stick with you for a long, long time.
One day after fourteen-year-old Andy Zhang carded an eight-over in just the first five holes of The Olympic Club, seventeen-year-old Beau Hossler worked some early magic only to get a hard, ugly dose of reality.
Hossler, a high schooler headed to the University of Texas, played his first eleven holes (in this case, holes 9-18 and 1) in an exceptional two-under par, which was good enough to get him briefly into the lead at two-under. This kid, who lost in his high school finals a couple weeks ago to a lad named Austin Smotherman, was now ahead of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and every other great golfer on the planet.
It didn't even last one hole.
Hossler carded a bogey on 2, his 12th hole, and then went four-over during his final six holes to tumble all the way to +3. It was a you-didn't-study-and-the-exam-is-today awakening for the kid, who seemed virtually punch-drunk (an expression; he's underage) as he staggered back toward the clubhouse.
"Obviously, I think I got out of my rhythm a little bit on those tee shots, and those really killed me," he said. "But I don't think at all it was based on the [U.S. Open] stage, I think it was just based on making some bad swings and unfortunately at the wrong time."
On the plus side for many, viewers got a look at Beau Hossler's mother, Amy Balsz:
And lo, a Twitter trending search was born.
Still, in the end, this is about a seventeen-year-old kid coming through big on one of golf's biggest stages. Right now, Hossler sits at +3, tied for ninth place and still just four strokes off the lead. Sure, he may flame out over the weekend, but if he can bring the sort of steadiness he had this week to his college and (presumable) pro game, he'll be back many times.
And if nothing else, he's got memories to last a lifetime, both on the course and off. "I find this kind of weird, but the free dry cleaning [in the clubhouse], that's pretty sweet."
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