Texas standout captures his first major amateur championship
CHICAGO (August 2, 2014) – Beau Hossler burst onto the golf scene when he tied for 29th as a 17-year-old at the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club.
Now 19, the California native and Texas Longhorn on Saturday won the first major amateur championship victory of his career: the 112th Western Amateur at The Beverly Country Club on the city’s Southwest Side.
Hossler defeated Xander Schauffele, of San Diego, 2 up in the final match after rallying from 3 down through 11 holes, winning six of the last seven holes. Earlier in the day, Hossler won his semifinal match 4 and 3 against Illinois incoming freshman Nick Hardy of Northbrook, lllinois.
“Obviously, [the Western Amateur] is one of the best tournaments in the world – a major amateur event with an outstanding field run by a world class association,” Hossler said. “I’m very happy to have won. I’ve come close this summer. I’ve played some good golf but unfortunately hadn’t closed one out yet. Very pleased.”
Earlier this summer, Schauffele, the 10th-ranked player in the world, defeated his friend from California in match play at the California State Amateur. Hossler, who is ranked 4th in the Scratch Players Rankings, wasn’t about to allow that to happen again, but it required some clutch play – and patience.
Schauffele was 3 up after Hossler 3-putted the par 3 10th hole, but Hossler made an 11-foot bender for birdie on the 11th to keep pace. “At that point I was trying not to lose 6 and 5,” he said.
But Schauffele’s tee shot on the par 3 12th hit a tree and dropped into a downhill lie in a green side bunker. Schauffele failed to get up and down, and Hossler made par. Schauffele was 2-up.
Hossler and Schauffele then went par-bogey, respectively, on the par 4 13th, cutting Schauffele’s lead to one.
On the 333-yard par 4 14th both players purposely hit their tee shots into greenside bunkers with the hope of keeping their bunker shots below the hole on the tilted back-to-front green. Hossler got up and down from 15 feet for birdie, but Schauffele missed his 12-foot birdie putt, squaring the match.
“The 15-footer I made on 14 was big, it got me back to all square for the first time since hole three,” Hossler said. “That was big.”
Schauffele reclaimed his 1-up lead on the 15th despite hooking his tee shot into the trees left of the fairway. His second shot from the woods soared at low altitude underneath the branches, hit in front of the green and rolled five feet from the hole - a putt he made for birdie.
But Schauffele snap-hooked another tee shot into the left trees on the par 4 16th and couldn’t recover. He hit his approach onto a hill adjacent to the right side of the green – where the prospects of getting up-and-down proved nil.
Meanwhile, Hossler hit his approach from the middle of the fairway to four feet. When Schauffele’s putt spun out, he conceded Hossler’s birdie and the match again was all-square.
The match turned on the par 3 229-yard17th, the hole that had played as one of the two most difficult every day during the championship.
Hossler hit his 5-iron on the green 45-feet below the hole. Schauffele got aggressive and his tee shot landed just beyond the back fringe, in the rough, leaving him with an extremely difficult downhill chip and putt to save par.
Hossler played first, and putted to a foot.
After rehearsing his pitch shot as thoroughly as an aspiring Broadway thespian, Schauffele stubbed it just a yard, leaving the ball in the fringe. With the green tilted back-to-front at a five percent angle, his barely-tapped downhill putt ended 20 feet past the hole, and Hossler’s conceded par won the hole, giving him the lead for the first time in the match.
“I made a smart play on 17, hitting it to the front of the green and trying to make my 3, and did that,” Hossler said. “Xander had a really touchy shot and was left with a near-impossible chip and didn’t get up and down.”
Schauffele again snapped his tee shot deep into the trees on the par 5 18th, forcing him to play up the 16th fairway to try to hit a third shot through the trees to the green. Hossler’s tee shot went into the left rough just off the fairway, and he laid up before hitting his final approach below the hole.
“Even though he struggled on 18, I was pretty proud of how I stuck to my game plan, laid it up and hit a really good wedge in there about four feet under the hole that I ended up not having to putt.
“I’m proud of the way I was managing myself around the golf course,” Hossler said. “Even with some rounds this week not being my best, I was able to scramble, miss in the correct places and make key putts when I needed to.”
With the victory, expectations for Hossler have coincided with reality.
“I knew that I could win a major amateur event, but to see it happen is kind of a relief,” Hossler said.