Beau Hossler Jr.of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., is 14, just finished eighth grade, stands no taller than a pitching wedge, hits his driver all of 240, and next month will be playing in the U.S. Amateur at Southern Hills Counry Club in Tulsa, Okla.
Hossler, whose handicap index is plus-1.6, tied for second in a U.S. Amateur Sectional Qualifier at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, then won a playoff to secure one of three amateur births. He missed by only three months of becoming the youngest ever to qualify for the Amateur (Ryoto Ito was 14 years, one month, 13 days when he qualified in 2004; Hossler was 14 years, four months).
"IIt will be easy to spot Beau Jr. in Tulsa," Randy Youngman writes in the Orange County Register. "His dad says he'll be the 5-foot-3, 125-pound youngster who hits it about 240-250 yards off the tee and then hits 5-wood approaches into most of the greens, as he did Monday."
Driver, 5-wood into many of the par-4s and he beats 74 players in a 75-man Amateur qualifier.
The only flaw in this remarkable story was made by the headline writer, who invoked the seemingly obligatory phrase used to describe any young golfer of note: "the next Tiger Woods."
-- John Strege