Beau Hossler's name has appeared near the top of the leader board frequently this season, but mostly it's been during the first three rounds of tournaments, as he's struggled on Sundays during his rookie season on the PGA Tour. He hopes to change that this week, but if he does it'll be helped by another fast start at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he opened with a bogey-free seven-under 65 to grab a share of the lead with Kevin Streelman.
"For the most part, pretty stress-free [round], hit a lot of greens, had a lot of pretty decent looks at birdie," Hossler said of his low round, which came at Pebble Beach Golf Links on Thursday. "The golf course is tough, because the wind can switch pretty easily, especially coming through some of these trees. So, stuck to a relatively conservative game plan, but was able to get a couple long putts to go in at the end."
The former University of Texas All-American was cruising at five under through 15 holes, and then grabbed two more birdies on his final three holes, holing a 53-foot birdie putt from the fringe at the par-4 16th and then a 35-footer at the par-3 17th. While Hossler had played in only 12 tour events prior to this season, the kid who burst on the scene as an amateur at the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club (leading for a while on Friday) is clearly up for the challenge, having made eight of nine cuts this season and finishing in the top 10 twice.
"It's just a comfort level really, but especially coming back to some of these tournaments that I played last year, knowing how the course is going to be set up, knowing exactly what I'm getting in to," he said. "Obviously last year I was coming off an injury, and then coming out here to these courses and a lot of them I hadn't even played yet, so, I have a pretty good idea of where they're going to put the pins, how they're going to set up the course, and with that I'm able to prepare a little better."
Tied at the top with Hossler is Streelman, whose bogey-free 65 came at Spyglass Hill, statistically the most difficult of the three courses the players face this week. The two-time tour winner looks to capitalize on his own consistent play this season, having made all eight cuts and finishing in the top 25 four times.
Matt Kuchar is just one off the lead after carding a six-under 66 at Spyglass Hill. It's only his second start of 2018, the first coming last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he mounted a late charge before making a bogey at the short par-4 17th at TPC Scottsdale, ultimately finishing T-5. He's joined at six under by Julian Suri and another tour rookie, Aaron Wise.
Ten players are at five under, including World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, whose 67 came at Spyglass Hill. Patrick Cantlay also finished with a 67 that began with a birdie, hole-in-one, birdie start on the 10th, 11th and 12th holes at Monterrey Peninsula Country Club's Shore Course.
Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are among a group at four under. Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Bubba Watson are at three under. Jordan Spieth's early-season struggles continued at Spyglass Hill, where he shot an even par 72 with one birdie and one bogey, putting him seven off the lead.