A year ago, Beau Hossler Jr. was one of the youngest participants ever in the United States Open Championship, one of the toughest golf tournaments in the world.
This year, Hossler hopes to be . That title falls to 14-year-old Andy Zhang.
The old-hand Hossler—one week after taking his Latin final at Santa Margarita Catholic—will tee off today at 10:15 a.m. at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, and won't be nearly so starry-eyed as he was a year ago.
Earlier this week Hossler played a practice round with his idol, Phil Mickelson, in a match-play competition. Hossler and young Alberto Sanchez—who graduated from La Jolla Country Day school earlier this month—defeated Mickelson and Mark McCormick, 1-up.
Hossler, 17, comes into the 112th U.S. Open on a bit of a hot streak, playing far better than he had when he took on the world's best as a high school sophomore and shot 76-77 at Congressional Country Club in Washington, D.C.
The Mission Viejo resident, along with USC-bound teammate Andrew Levitt, helped Santa Margarita win the Southern Section team championship. Hossler just missed winning the CIF State Individual Championship; he shot 3-under 68 at San Gabriel Country Club, one stroke behind the winner.
That came two days after Hossler shot 7-under over 36 holes and finished second in the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier at TPC Harding Park and Lake Merced Country Club in San Francisco.
According to the Orange County Register, Hossler is 58 strokes under par in his last 18 rounds of golf. He is the No. 3 junior player in the nation, according to Golfweek, with a rating of 69.31.
Hossler steps onto the course with an eye toward making the cut—that is, playing the third and fourth rounds of the tournament.
And Hossler, who has committed to play college at Texas after graduating from SMCHS next year, says he's got a very real, very specific goal. He wants to be low amateur for the tournament.
If he plays like he has recently, it's a very real possibility.