For a moment on Friday in the second round of the United States Open Championship, 17-year-old Beau Hossler was atop the leaderboard.
Ahead of Tiger, Lefty and Bubba.
A far cry from his U.S. Open debut a year ago when he missed the cut after two rounds, Hossler is in the thick of the battle for the 112th championship on the par-70 layout at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. He is in a tie for ninth place, four strokes behind co-leaders Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods and David Toms. Those three veterans—Furyk is 42, Woods is 36 and Toms is 45—are tied at 1-under par 139 after two rounds.
Hossler, a Mission Viejo resident who last week was a junior at Santa Margarita Catholic, began his day teeing off from the 9th hole. Through his first 11 holes, he was at 2-under par; coupled with his even-par opening round, that moved him 2-under for the tournament and gave him the lead.
"I saw the leaderboard on (hole) 2. It was pretty special to see my name up there," Hossler said after his round. "I dreamed of playing in the U.S. Open but not necessarily leading through 27 holes."
But the difficult Open course—traditionally one of the hardest courses to play—then punched back at Hossler, who wore a University of Texas visor though he's still more than a year away from going off to college.
He closed his round with four bogeys and one double bogey over the final eight holes. The lead he took on No. 1 didn't even last through No. 2.
Nevertheless, Hossler remains solidly in the race for the championship, tied for ninth place with eight other golfers, four strokes behind the lead threesome.
Importantly, Hossler made the cut, meaning he will get a chance to play the third and fourth rounds for the championship.
Among those golfers who didn't make the cut: Rory McIlroy, Masters champion Bubba Watson, and the world's No. 1 ranked player, Luke Donald. Phil Mickelson, who is Hossler's hero, squeezed into the third round with a par round to finish 7-over 137.
Hossler began the tournament just hoping to finish as the low amateur, which meant finishing ahead of Patrick Cantlay, who played at Servite and is currently at UCLA, and University of Texas' Jordan Spieth. Both are at 8-over 148; those who finished the second round at 149 were done for the tournament.
Hossler, Cantlay and Spieth are the only amateurs still playing. Andy Zhang, the 14-year-old who became the youngest player in tournament history, went 79-76—157 for the tournament and missed the cut.
Hossler knows how that feels. .
This year, his ride is a little better. It continues with a 2:05 p.m. tee time on Saturday. He is paired with 38-year-old Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin.