Hossler rallies, Barrett falters at U.S. Junior Amateur

Beau Hossler

Beau Hossler

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STRATHAM, N.H. – After carding a 1-under 71 on Tuesday to all but assure his place in the U.S. Junior Amateur match-play field, Beau Hossler exited the scorer’s tent, signed a few autographs and headed toward the clubhouse.

“Fortunately I think I’m going to be inside [the cut line], but it was pretty close,” said a relieved Hossler, who rallied from an opening 5-over 77 on Monday to finish stroke play at 4-over 148.

On his way inside, he crossed paths with Chelso Barrett, last year’s runner-up to Jordan Spieth.

The pair exchanged hellos, Barrett asked what Hossler had shot, congratulated him, and they headed off in opposite directions.

While Hossler is in good position to qualify for the Round of 64 - which will begin Wednesday at the Golf Club of New England - Barrett is almost certain to miss out – he shot 4-over 76 for a two-round total of 10-over 154.

“Every tournament is a learning experience,” Barrett said. “I think the best golfers have really short memories and they try to forget what’s already happened and look forward to the future. You can learn something even from bad golf and I’ve definitely learned something.”

And so begins the one-hour trip back home to Keene, N.H., for Barrett, one of the favorites to win his first U.S. Junior title this week.

With so much pressure seemingly on Barrett, it looked for a while like the rising senior at Keene High would be able to bounce back Tuesday. He birdied the par-5 third hole and was at 7 over with three holes remaining.

Sure, he would need some help if he remained at 7 over, but a triple-bogey at No. 16 ended any hope of making it to his third U.S. Junior match play.

“I tried to tune out the pressure the best I could, but it affected me a little bit,” said Barrett, who found some rough fescue on No. 16 and then, as he described it, “made a mess of the hole.”

What Barrett couldn’t do, Hossler did.

Hossler managed five birdies Tuesday despite some serious putting woes. Hossler failed to make a birdie during his first round. He did begin his second round with three in his first seven holes. But just one of those putts was outside of five feet.

“This was probably the worst putting tournament so far I’ve had in my junior golf career, unfortunately,” said the two-time U.S. Open qualifier. “I’m hitting it all right, but really reading the greens poorly and that’s cost me a lot of shots.”

The greens have played tough this week in Stratham, but it still has Hossler puzzled.

“I wish I knew the answer to that. I don’t know,” Hossler said. “I haven’t sniffed reading a single putt this whole time. It’s really frustrating.”

Yet, as expected, Hossler finds himself playing a third day at the Golf Club of New England.

And it’s all thanks to an impressive, yet expected, comeback.

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