Hossler Joins Elite Amateur Company
By David Shefter, USGA
UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. – Few golfers can say they have played in three U.S. Opens as an amateur before the age of 21. Among those few are legends Jack Nicklaus, Bob Jones and Ben Crenshaw, as well as Bobby Clampett, and now Beau Hossler has added his name to the list.
Hossler, 20, of Mission Viejo, Calif., might not have accrued the same credentials of the three aforementioned Hall of Fame players, but he hopes his amateur record leads to the same level of long-term success.
“Anytime you are in the company of Jack Nicklaus, I guess you are doing something right,” Hossler said after posting a 2-over 72 in Friday’s second round of the 115th U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, for a 36-hole total of 3-over 143, which made the cut by two strokes. “Obviously, it’s nice making it here, but I am trying to contend. That’s the goal.”
Hossler competed in the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional, missing the 36-hole cut. But the world was introduced to him at age 17 in the 2012 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, where he briefly led the championship after his 29th hole. A double bogey a short time later ended his reign. He would finish tied for 29th, two strokes behind Jordan Spieth for low-amateur honors.
So much has changed since that weekend. Hossler, a rising junior at the University of Texas, has transformed his physique through better nutrition and a rigorous exercise regimen, something he rarely considered in high school. Once a stocky 5-foot-11, 165-pound teenager with braces, Hossler now stands 4 inches taller and put on 25 pounds of muscle. Oh, and the braces are long gone as well.
“I’ve just grown up,” said Hossler.
His game has also matured. Last summer, Hossler won the Western Amateur and reached the Round of 64 in the U.S. Amateur at Atlanta Athletic Club, losing to current top-ranked amateur Jon Rahm of Spain. He was named to the USA World Amateur Team that successfully defended the Eisenhower Trophy in Japan.
This past season, he earned first-team All-America honors from the Golf Coaches Association of America and was recently selected to represent the USA in next month’s Pan-American Games in Canada. He’s also hoping to compete for the USA Walker Cup Team in September at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
“Obviously, it’s high on my list,” said Hossler, who played on the recent USA Palmer Cup Team that was victorious at Rich Harvest Farms near Chicago. “I feel I’ve played well, but I also need to have a really good summer to make it. I’m not going to take anything for granted because I know I have a long way to go.”
Making the cut at a U.S. Open for the second time certainly helps, especially in a field that started with the most amateurs (16) since 1981. Of those 16, six made the cut, the most since 1966.
But Hossler doesn’t want to ceremoniously play the weekend. He wants to move up the leader board and nab low-amateur honors, if not contend for the championship.
To do that, his putting will have to improve. Through two rounds, he has amassed 70 putts.
“It’s very frustrating because normally that is the strength of my game,” said Hossler. “Today, I got a couple to drop. I need to do some work. My speed is off. I have not adjusted nearly as well as I should have.”
Should Hossler need any inspiration, he can look at Spieth, who only a few years ago was roaming the University of Texas campus and now, at 21, is a Masters champion who is tied with Patrick Reed for the 36-hole lead at Chambers Bay. Spieth also played in three U.S. Opens before the age of 21, but two came after he turned professional in 2012.
“It’s nice to see someone who was in my shoes three years ago and is already successful,” said Hossler. “He’s an inspiration for me, but more than anything, all of the younger generation behind him.”
Someday, people might be saying the same thing about Hossler.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.