Saturday Notebook: Amateur Hossler Eyeing The Big Prize

Beau Hossler Notebook For Saturday

Beau Hossler not only has his eyes on being low amateur, but he would love to be the first amateur to win the U.S. Open in nearly 80 years. (Joel Kowsky/USGA)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

By Dave Shedloski

San Francisco – Beau Hossler has spent his second U.S. Open constantly reassessing his goals.

After matching his opening-round 70 with another even-par 70 Saturday at The Olympic Club, the 17-year-old amateur from Mission Viejo, Calif., has set his horizons a bit higher than trying to finish as low amateur.

He wants to be low competitor.

Hossler enters the final round of the 112th U.S. Open tied for eighth at 3-over 213, well ahead of two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay, the other two amateurs to make the cut at the Lake Course.

Cantlay, the 2011 U.S. Amateur runner-up and low amateur at the 2011 U.S. Open, and Spieth, who just led the University of Texas to the NCAA Division I title, are ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the World Amateur Golf Ranking supported by The R&A and USGA.

Hossler will play alongside two-time PGA Tour winner Jason Dufner in the sixth-from-last group at 2:20 p.m. PDT.

He thinks he can beat Dufner. And everyone else, something that hasn’t been accomplished by an amateur since Johnny Goodman in 1933. Since then, Jack Nicklaus came the closest to winning as an amateur when he finished second to Arnold Palmer at Cherry Hills 52 years ago.

"I still have the goal to be low amateur," said Hossler, "but my goal now is to win the tournament.

"I feel like I'm in contention to win the tournament, and I'm going to try and take advantage of it tomorrow."

He flashed a smile that showed a mouthful of braces. He didn't look imposing, but then consider his scores, particularly Saturday's effort, which was a true display of grit. Hossler, who missed the cut last year at Congressional and is the first high school-age player to play in consecutive U.S. Opens since Mason Rudolph (1950-51), made four bogeys in Round 3, and each time he birdied the very next hole.

That's called bounce-back in the stat sheet. It’s also called heart in the golf arena.

Hossler has made 10 birdies over 54 holes, second-most in the field. He'll probably need a few to catch 54-hole leaders Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk, both U.S. Open champions who sit at 1-under 209, but he's going to give it a try. He has nothing to lose.

Still, even if he doesn’t win, there could be other perks for a high finish. The low eight and ties receive an invitation to the 2013 Masters, and the top 10 and ties get a spot in the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. Hossler also is putting himself in position to be selected for the 2013 USA Walker Cup Team.

Of course, there’s the small matter of 18 more holes to play on one of the most rigorous championship layouts in golf.

"Obviously, I'm not experienced in there, so I can't really talk about what it's going to be like, but I know from other tournaments that I feel pretty comfortable coming down the back nine when I'm in contention,” said Hossler, the stroke-play medalist at the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur. “So, obviously, it's a little bit different being the U.S. Open, but I put myself in contention many a tournament and have come through successfully."

It would be an amazing accomplishment if he could continue that trend.

Best Finishes By Amateurs At U.S. Open Since 1946

Player

Finish

Year

Site

Jack Nicklaus

2

1960

Cherry Hills Country  Club

Jack Nicklaus

T-4

1961

Oakland Hills Country Club

Jim Simons

T-5

1971

Merion Golf Club

Bud Ward

5

1947

St. Louis Country Club

Billy Joe Patton

T-6

1954

Baltusrol Golf Club

Harvie Ward

T-7

1955

The Olympic Club

Ken Venturi

8

1956

Oak Hill Country Club

Billy Joe Patton

T-8

1957

Inverness Club

Johnny Miller

T-8

1966

The Olympic Club

Frank Souchak

T-9

1953

Oakmont Country Club

Deane Beman

T-11

1965

Bellerive Country Club

Deane Beman

T-12

1961

Oakland Hills Country Club

Billy Joe Patton

T-13

1956

Oak Hill Country Club

Frank Stranahan

T-13

1947

St. Louis Country Club

William Hyndman

T-13

1957

Inverness Club

Charles Coe

T-13

1958

Southern Hills Country Club

Lanny Wadkins

T-13

1971

Merion Golf Club

Spencer Levin

T-13

2004

Shinnecock Hills

Skee Riegel

T-14

1949

Medinah Country  Club

Deane Beman

T-14

1962

Oakmont Country Club

Matt Kuchar

T-14

1998

The Olympic Club

Bob Murphy

T-15

1966

The Olympic Club

Jim Simons

T-15

1972

Pebble Beach Golf Links

 

 

 

 

Early Risers

When Kevin Streelman arrived at The Olympic Club for Saturday’s third round, he knew he wouldn’t have to wait for anyone.

Streelman and Bo Van Pelt were the first pairing at 9:15 a.m. PDT, so they were also the first to finish, just about four hours later.  If you’re in the first pairing out, it means that you’ve got one of the highest overall scores, but Streelman found a positive to take away.

“It was great,” he said. “There were more people than I thought there would be.  The greens are perfect, there are no spike marks or footprints in your way.”

He shot a 2-over 72 after playing the last two holes in three over.

Streelman has some recent history as the first man out. At the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, Streelman and Troy Merritt were the first out on Sunday, which turned out to be a slightly different situation.

“It was funny,” he said. “It’s a little different when you’re the first off on a Sunday. We’re definitely trying our best, but we’re also trying to get out of town. So we had a 7:15 [a.m.] time and we had a 12:15 [p.m.] flight. Five hours from tee off to liftoff.”

They made the flight.

Going Pro?

Rumors have been circulating that Patrick Cantlay, a 20-year-old rising junior at UCLA, might be turning professional next week at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut. But the world’s No. 1-ranked amateur, who shot a 1-over 71 in the third round Saturday, said he will play the PGA Tour event as an amateur. Last year, Cantlay shot a 60 in that tournament, a week after earning low-amateur honors in his first U.S. Open, at Congressional.

Cantlay, who also was a member of the 2011 USA Walker Cup Team, was asked if he was keeping his commitment to play next month’s British Open, where he has an exemption based on winning the Mark H. McCormack Medal for being the top-ranked amateur. Cantlay must keep his amateur status to play at Royal Lytham in England.

“Haven’t decided,” said Cantlay.

Should Cantlay remain an amateur through this year, he would be a candidate to represent the USA at the World Amateur Team Championship this fall in Turkey.

If Cantlay turns pro, it’s likely that Jordan Spieth would move into the No. 1 spot. Spieth got into this year’s U.S. Open field as an alternate and made the 36-hole cut on the number (8-over 148).

Welcome Back

And on the subject of Spieth, if he didn’t get to know 2007 U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera on Saturday, he’ll have another chance in Sunday’s final round. The two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion and 2011 USA Walker Cup member is grouped with the Argentinean once again after both players carded 1-under 69s in the third round.

Birthday Wishes

Fans surrounding the 18th green serenaded Phil Mickelson with “Happy Birthday” as he approached his final hole of the day. Mickelson would have preferred a better score on his 42nd birthday.

“Yeah, it’s a long, difficult day, even though it’s my birthday,” said Mickelson after carding a 1-over 71 for a 54-hole total of 8-over 218. “It was very flattering of the fans, thank you.”

Odds And Ends

In Thursday’s first round, six sub-70 rounds were recorded. On Friday, the number was upped by one. Saturday’s third round, however, saw 13 players better par, equaling the total from the first two rounds combined.

Sunday’s final round will mark the first time since 2004 that two U.S. Open champions have played together in the final grouping. Two-time winner Ernie Els and eventual repeat champion Retief Goosen played together at Shinnecock Hills that year. In 1966 at The Olympic Club, Billy Casper and Arnold Palmer were paired as they each pursued their second Open victory. Casper prevailed in an 18-hole playoff the following day.

Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based freelance writer who is contributing to usopen.com this week. Also contributing were USGA senior staff writer David Shefter, and freelance writer Thomas Bonk.

 

 

Current Leaders
PosPlayerTodayThruTotal
1W. Simpson-2F+1
T2M. Thompson-3F+2
T2G. McDowell+3F+2
T4D. Toms-2F+3
T4P. Harrington-2F+3
T4J. PetersonEF+3
T4J. DufnerEF+3
T4J. Furyk+4F+3
javascript:launchPicstream()
http://www.usopen.com/en_US/tickets/index.html
U.S. Open Shop