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Hossler On the Leaderboard at U.S. Open

Santa Margarita Catholic junior shoots even par and is in seventh place, one shot behind Tiger Woods.

Some of the pre-tournament hype surrounding the 112th United States Open Championship revolved around 14-year-old Andy Zhang and 17-year-old Beau Hossler Jr.

The headline was that Zhang was overshadowing Hossler.

Not on Thursday.

, a resident of Mission Viejo and a week removed from finishing his junior year at Santa Margarita Catholic, shot an even-par 70 in the first round of the tournament at The Olympic Club, placing him seventh overall—one shot behind second-place Tiger Woods.

Hossler actually had a good chance to tie Woods, David Toms, Justin Rose, Nick Watney and Graeme McDowell for second place, but he was just long on an eight-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole. He offset three bogies with three birdies.

Still, he closed with a bit of a flourish. Despite a bogey on 16, he birdied 14 and 17. He hit nine of 18 greens in regulation.

His roughest stretch came early in the round with bogeys on 4 and 5 that put him 2-over par.

He is one of eight players tied at 70. Zhang, the 14-year-old who set a record by becoming the youngest player in tournament history, shot 79.

Hossler said that at Congressional Country Club helped him this year. He missed the cut in that tournament after shooting a 77-76.

"I was a  lot less nervous," Hossler said. "Not saying I wasn't nervous at all because I was nervous, but last year was pretty ridiculous."

The leader after the first round of the tournament is Michael Thompson, who shot 4-under 66.

Hossler's hero, five-time U.S. Open runner-up Phil Mickelson, shot a 76 while paired with Woods and reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson, who shot a 78.

Hossler, who has committed to play for Texas, has the goal of being the highest-placing amateur. His primary competition comes from Patrick Cantlay, who attended Servite High in Orange County but now is at UCLA, and Texas' Jordan Spieth—who was one of the main reasons Hossler chose Texas. Cantlay shot 76, and Spieth 74.

Hossler went off in the first threesome of the day on Thursday, and he said it was a benefit playing "pure greens." That won't be the case today, when he tees off at 12:30 p.m. and will be paired with Scott Langley (76) and Steve LeBrun (73).

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