Beau Hossler formally introduced himself to the golf world five years ago, at 17 showcasing his potential in the U.S. Open. On Sunday, he will have a chance to cash in on that potential.
Hossler, 22, shot a five-under-par 66, the best round of the day, in windy condition at the TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas on Saturday to claim a share of the 54-hole lead in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
He gained seven shots on the 36-hole leader, J.J. Spaun, who stumbled early and late in his round and shot a two-over-par 73 to fall into a tie with Hossler.
In 2012, Hossler, a high school junior, actually led the U.S. Open briefly in the second round and was tied for eighth heading into the final round, before slipping to a tie for 29th.
He became a college star at Texas, where in his senior year was named the Fred Haskins Award winner as the best college player. Less than a year-and-a-half later, he could become a PGA Tour winner for the first time, though almost certainly not the last time.
“It's going to be tough,” he said. “Any time you're playing on the PGA Tour or even the Web.com Tour, it's so tough to win. These guys are so good, and the golf courses are very difficult. There is trouble all over. I think it's so important to have a good game plan and stick it out. You hear people say that, but it's really the key, especially on days like today. So to make a couple bogeys early, you've got to keep your head about you.”
Hossler, who tied for 10th in the Sanderson Farms Championship last week in only his second start as a PGA Tour member, played a bogey-free round in strong gusting winds that wreaked havoc with much of the field.
“It was a struggle out there,” Hossler said. “It was pretty windy. It was one of those days you don’t get wrapped up in the score because it was playing so difficult. You just had to take one shot at a time or you could get yourself in some serious trouble.”
Spaun could attest to that. His tee shot at the par-3 17th, playing downwind, came up short. His pitch rode the wind well past the hole, leading to a bogey that dropped him into a tie with Hossler.
Though he is the early stages of only his second year on the PGA Tour, Spaun is determined to embrace the challenge ahead.
“I've had a years experience now on the tour,” he said on Friday, "and this year it's taking my game to the next level instead of just kind of being someone that lingers around the cut or like top 20s. It's time to step up if I want to do something big out here on tour and make a name for myself.”