SUNDAY UPDATE: Beau Hossler, the 17-year-old Californian aiming to be the first-ever amateur to win the U.S. Open of Golf, started the day four strokes behind leaders Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell. For live scores throughout today’s final round, CLICK HERE
Barely a month ago, Beau Hossler was competing in Santa Barbara for Santa Margarita High School at the Southern Section’s CIF Team Golf Championship.
Now, after a weekend of sky-rocketing fame thanks to an incredible showing at the U.S. Open of Golf, Hossler has made the move from elite high school golfer to one of America’s best-known amateur golfers.
At an ultra-difficult Olympic Club course in San Francisco, Hossler has posted an even-par 70 in round 1 backed up by a 73 on Friday. The 17-year-old captivated golf fans by holding the top spot on the leaderboard for much of Friday’s second round.
“I was pretty excited about it, but then again I had another 40 holes at least to be playing in the tournament,” Hossler said on Friday. “You got a long way to go and you can’t get too wrapped up on where you’re at. You got to keep focused and try to go out there and salvage some pars on the first six holes, which is pretty difficult to do.”
This is the second U.S. Open for Hossler, who also played at Congressional last year but didn’t make the cut.
It’s a different story this time, as Hossler has become one of the most talked about players at the tournament for his play, not just his age.
Leading up to the Open, Hossler led his high school team to the CIF Southern Section championship and finished second overall individually at the CGA Championship amongst California’s top prep players.
At the CIF Team Championships in May, he turned in the lowest round for an individual at Rancho San Marcos Golf Course, just over the hill in the Santa Ynez Valley, carding a five-under 66.
Through it all, Hossler has displayed a level-headed and analytical approach to his game, which has served him well while playing at any level. After his 66 at Rancho San Marcos in May, Hossler described that mentality in an interview with Presidio Sports.
“The key today was basically hitting the fairways,” Hossler said. “This course has some high rough and some weeds, and everything on the side, so if you keep the ball in the fairway and get off to a hot start while it’s not windy, you can really take it low.”
He didn’t let up until the end.
“You can lose it on any hole out here so you really have to stay focused,” Hossler said.
That was a week before he skipped the CIF Individual Tournament to play in a U.S. Open Qualifier. After securing his spot in the Open, he came back to high school competition with his runner-up finish at the SCGA CIF Championship.
At the Olympic Club this weekend, Hossler has thrived so far despite hitting the fairway on only 11 of 28 drives through two rounds.
Hossler admitted the big stage was different, but at the same time he tried to relate it to the other big tournaments he’s participated in, albeit under the radar.
“It’s a little bit different when you got a huge gallery out there, but I feel really comfortable,” Hossler said in his Friday post-round press conference. “I’ve had it a few times, not quite this big, obviously, but a few pretty big galleries out there at the U.S. Amateur and events like that. But it’s a whole new game once you get on the professional stage for sure.”
Hossler heads into Saturday’s third round four strokes behind leaders Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and David Toms. Last year’s top amateur at the US Open was Patrick Cantlay, who finished tied for 21st, 16 strokes behind winner Rory McIlroy.
The last time an amateur finished in the top-10 at the U.S. Open was 1971, when Jim Simons tied for fifth. NCAA players Scott Langley and Russell Henley tied for 16th in 2010.