Hossler Among Six to Earn Open Spots in Newport Beach
By Steve Virgen
Southern California was well represented at Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Newport Beach, as Jake Knapp (Costa Mesa), Brian Campbell (Irvine), Beau Hossler (Mission Viejo) and Alex Kim (Fullerton) were four of the six players who earned a trip to next week’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
Knapp, Campbell and Hossler are good friends who have played against each other since before they were teens.
“It just shows you how much ability and talent there is in Southern California golf, in my opinion,” said Hossler, 20, who qualified for his third U.S. Open. “It’s awesome to have two of my really good friends that I’ve grown up with. I’m sure we’ll get a practice round in together at Chambers Bay.”
Kevin Lucas, of Folsom, Calif., near Sacramento, finished as medalist at 9-under-par 134, shooting 3-under 68 at Newport Beach Country Club and 6-under 66 at Big Canyon Country Club.
“It’s surreal,” said Lucas, who played college golf at Nevada-Reno and qualified for his first U.S. Open. “I honestly feel like I’m in a dream right now, because this has been my dream for so long. Hopefully, this is just the first of many.”
Hossler, Knapp and Jared Becher, of Reno, Nev., finished tied for second at 7-under 136. Campbell was the fifth qualifier at 6 under.
Kim, who prepped at Sunny Hills High School and played collegiately at UCLA, won a playoff against Josh Anderson, of Murrieta, Calif., for the final spot out of a field of 112.
Anderson and Jeremy Sanders are the first and second alternates, respectively.
Knapp, a UCLA junior who grew up in nearby Costa Mesa and played high school golf at Estancia High, led the field after his 7-under score at Newport Beach, and his even-par effort on Big Canyon in the afternoon was enough to get him to Chambers Bay.
He had to win a playoff at the U.S. Open local qualifier at Oak Creek in Irvine last month to earn the opportunity to compete at this sectional qualifier, and he had little chance to celebrate on Monday night, since he had a music history final at UCLA on Tuesday morning.
Two years ago, Knapp shot 10 under at Newport Beach to earn medalist honors in a U.S. Open local qualifier. But he was bothered by a shoulder problem and did not advance through sectional qualifying.
“Two years ago I thought it would fit my game, but then I just wasn’t ready,” said Knapp, whose older brother, Ryan, carried his bag. “But yes, to have it here was an absolute advantage for me.”
Ryan Knapp caddies at Big Canyon and played collegiately at UC Irvine.
Campbell, who graduated from Mater Dei in Santa Ana and now plays at the University of Illinois, qualified for the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, missing the cut by one stroke.
“I’ll definitely be going to make the cut,” Campbell said. “It’s going to be nice to go with a couple of friends. Last time, I was on my own, figuring things out. [We’ve been playing] since we were kids. We were just SoCal golfers competing against each other. It’s fun. It’s cool to see us making it in.”
Lucas said he wasn’t sure where he would finish after completing his four-birdie, no-bogey round at Big Canyon. But he separated himself from the pack with seven birdies against two bogeys at Newport Beach to earn the qualifying medal by two strokes.