|Seventeen-year-old Beau Hossler fired an even-par 70 to open the U.S. Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco, Calif. (Getty)|
SAN FRANCISCO -- Imagine for a second that you're 17 years old. You qualify for your second U.S. Open in a row, and you show up to Olympic Club with a game in perfect shape. What's the first thing you do? Yep, win some money off Phil Mickelson.
That's what Beau Hossler did before opening his U.S. Open with an even-par round of 70, good enough for the top 10 midway through Thursday. Hossler came in with the goals of being low amateur and making it to the weekend, something that didn't happen a year ago when he shot 76-77 at friendly Congressional.
Talking with him, the only giveaway to his age is the braces that lay across his teeth. After his round he talked about being confident in his game, taking "conservative lines and aggressive swings," and picking apart his round like what you would get while listening to a professional who just tidied up a solid round of golf.
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"I've been playing really well lately," Hossler said on Thursday. "I expected myself to go out there and get a lot out of my round. I still left a few out there, but you have to accept that; it's the U.S. Open. It's going to happen."
Get a lot out of your round? Left a few out there? Is this kid 17, or 47?
On top of that, Hossler, who just finished up his junior year at Santa Margarita High School in California, didn't even hit the ball all that well on Thursday. Hossler found just five fairways and nine greens but was able to salvage a round that many of his boyhood idols couldn't, including Mickelson, who he played a practice round with on Tuesday.
Asked if Phil gave him any advice earlier this week, Beau said, "With putts and lag putts and everything. So sometimes you're going to have a 40-footer but you want to have a speed that leaves you maybe one or two feet short of the hole as opposed to two or three feet by giving you a chance to go in. So taking your pars and taking your medicine is huge."
Every year we have an amateur that comes out of the gate hot and finds reality days later when the greens firm up and the putts start to mean something. But after talking to Hossler, it seems he's completely fine with his even-par round but knows he can do better, something even professionals have a hard time understanding.