Beau Hossler remains patient as he chases PGA Tour breakthrough

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Beau Hossler remains patient as he chases PGA Tour breakthrough

PGA Tour

Beau Hossler remains patient as he chases PGA Tour breakthrough

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Beau Hossler didn’t get into the Waste Management Phoenix Open field until Monday morning. Less than a week later, he could be holding the trophy.

Hossler fired a 7-under 64 Thursday behind seven birdies and an eagle to move into contention at TPC Scottsdale. The 22-year-old rookie and first alternate at the start of the week is 11 under, three shots back, entering Sunday’s final round.

And his putter might be the hottest thing in the Phoenix area right now.

“I’m seeing the lines really well out here,” Hossler said.

Hossler made 200 feet, 4 inches of putts and gained a field-best 4.63 strokes on the greens Saturday. He started his long-range birdie barrage with a 47-foot make at the par-3 seventh. On the next hole, the par-4 eighth, he sunk a birdie from 22 feet. Then came the 34-foot eagle at the par-5 13th.

No birdie earned him more applause, though, than the 33-footer at the par-3 16th.

“It’s nice to have the crowd cheering for you and not booing you,” Hossler said.

But it was the 9-footers for par on his final two holes that might have said the most about Hossler as he chases his first PGA Tour victory. After pumping up the crowd at No. 16, Hossler hooked a 3-wood into the water at the drivable par-4 17th. He had to drop on the desert sand some 56 yards away, but got up and down to keep his momentum.

“I hit kind of a miraculous shot,” Hossler said. “You never know how it’s going to come out of that stuff.”

Then after finding the lip of a fairway bunker off the tee at the par-4 18th, Hossler calmly laid up to 90 yards to set up another up-and-down par save.

“One of the worst breaks ever,” Hossler said. “I don’t know how it stops under the lip there without plugging. Obviously, I was a little upset about that, but then kind of regrouped. … Momentum-wise going into tomorrow it was huge but more than anything just capping off a really strong round was nice. Kind of sucks to make bogeys at the end, so it was nice to keep those off the card.”

Said Hossler’s caddie, Jordan Guilford: “Just patience and a lot of fight. Kid’s an unbelievable competitor, so it’s nice to see him come back from some sad breaks and some missed shots.”

Hossler, who first arrived on golf’s big stage as a teenager contending at the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club, had his worst break of all at the beginning of his pro career. At the 2016 NCAA Championship at Eugene Country Club, a week before he was set to make his pro debut in Memphis, Hossler tore the labrum in his left shoulder late in his semifinal match against USC’s Andrew Leavitt. Hossler fought through the injury, getting up and down from a bunker on the 17th hole (with a putter!) to help Texas advance to the final.

But a day later, he had to forfeit his match and after surgery he didn’t return to the course until October. Having decided to turn pro earlier that fall, Hossler made his pro debut on a sponsor exemption at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open. He made the cut in four of seven Tour starts last season, but earned his card via the Tour after two runner-up finishes last summer.

“I just didn’t want to get into bad habits and try and make up for anything with my shoulder, so I was just patient and realized that I’m a lot better off being healthy than I am trying to rush back,” said Hossler, who finally has his pre-injury clubhead speed back, too.

Hossler has demonstrated that patience so far as a PGA Tour rookie. He’s started this season with seven made cuts, including two top-10s, in eight starts.

He’s also been in contention the last three weeks now. However, a third-round 73 hurt him in a T-20 showing at the CareerBuilder Challenge and a final-round 79 dropped him from the penultimate group to T-35 at the Farmers Insurance Open.

“Any time you have an opportunity like that, even if you aren’t successful, you have an opportunity to learn and grow and I think I’ve done that,” Hossler said. “There are certainly a lot of distractions when you’re playing in the front of those kind of crowds. At the same time you got to stay patient out there and realize that everybody’s dealing with the same thing, you’re going to be nervous out there but it’s a matter of being comfortable with those nerves and just sticking to a game plan and committing to each swing.”

Hossler sure has come a long way from Olympic Club. He’s no longer the awkward, braced 17-year-old junior golfer. He’s a grown pro with a powerful swing and silky smooth putting stroke, and he’s ready to do what he’s always dreamed of – win on Tour.

“Truthfully, it’s kind of where I expect myself to be,” Hossler said. “It’s taken a little bit longer than I would have hoped just because the injury. Like you said, it was a tough start, but I’ve seen myself out here for years and to be here kind of playing well and having a chance three weeks thus far this year it’s pretty special.

“So at the same time I got to stay patient and know that eventually it will happen.”


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