Hossler's solid summer continues at U.S. Amateur
ERIN, Wis.—Beau Hossler hasn't become a household name just yet this summer—he is still only 16 years old—but it's not from a lack of trying.
It began when the Mission Viejo, Calif., high schooler was the youngest player to qualify for last June's U.S. Open. He failed to make the cut at Congressional CC, shooting a 76-77, but soaked up the spotlight (driving a Lexus courtesy car not long after getting his license being one of the off-the-course highlights) and automatically qualified for every remaining USGA in which he was eligible.
He took advantage of that perk in July, where he played at the U.S. Junior Championship at Gold Mountain GC, earning medalist honors and eventually reaching the quarterfinals.
After a four-under 66 at Blue Mound GC Tuesday, Hossler might well be receiving another USGA medal. His seven-under 135 tied him with Blayne Barber and Ben Geyer for the clubhouse lead before darkness stopped play in the second round of the 111th U.S. Amateur Championship.
"It's been great," Hossler said of his summer play. "Even though I haven't had the practice sessions that I normally have because I have been so busy, the tournament experience has made me a lot more comfortable on bigger stages like this one. I was a little intimidated when I played this a couple of years ago, but now I feel very comfortable and I know a lot of the guys here. I can learn from those type of guys."
Exactly where Hossler will stand come the start of match play—or when he might begin his first round match at Erin Hills GC Wednesday—remains to be seen. Tuesday morning thunderstorms caused play to be stopped for more than three hours, keeping the entire 312 player field from finishing their second rounds before nightfall. UNLV's Blake Biddle was at eight under par with six holes remaining at Blue Mound when play was called.
Several players will have to return Wednesday morning to wrap up stroke-play qualifying (play will resume at 7:30 a.m. local time), including defending champion Peter Uihlein, U.S. Open low amateur Patrick Cantlay and the other five U.S. Walker Cup team members already named to the squad, Patrick Rodgers, Harris English, Nathan Smith, Chris Williams and Russell Henley. Williams and Smith are the only two who were not inside the top 64, each one stroke outside that number in a tie for 82nd.
A handful of notables finished their 36 holes and look as if they'll comfortably have a match-play tee time on Wednesday. Among them is NCAA champion John Peterson, trying to wrap up one of the three remaining spots on the U.S. Walker Cup team, who shot a three-under 139.
The other two most talked about contenders for the U.S. Walker Cup team, Jordan Spieth and Corbin Mills, have more stroke play holes to play come Wednesday. Spieth shot a two-under 68 at Blue Mound on Monday to sit inside the projected cut while Mills had a 75 at Erin Hills Monday, requiring him to pick up the pace if he wants to make match play.
David Chung's bid to make the U.S. Walker Cup team looks to have ended Tuesday when the Stanford senior withdrew from U.S. Amateur due to food poisoning. Chung had shot a 69 at Blue Mound on Monday but did not tee off for his second round at Erin Hills on Tuesday.
After winning the Porter Cup and Western Amateur in 2010, then finishing runner-up to Peter Uihlein at the U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay, Chung appeared to be a lock for captain Jim Holtgrieve's team. However, he had just one top-10 finish during the 2010-11 college season and struggled during the summer months to regain his form in amateur play.
If Hossler earns a share of medalist honors, he'll be the first player to be medalist of the U.S. Junior and the U.S. Amateur in the same calendar year.