SAN FRANCISCO – Andy Zhang was the teenager that everyone wanted to talk about heading into the opening round of the 112th U.S. Open but it was another teen that made his move on Day 1 at The Olympic Club.
Beau Hossler, 17, began with a surprisingly steady 70 and is four strokes off the lead. In defense of Zhang – who at 14 became the youngest player to participate in the national championship but struggled to an opening 79 – Hossler is something of an Open veteran.
Hossler, whose even-par round was the best opening card for an amateur since Drew Weaver began the 2009 championship with a 69, was the youngest player to qualify for last year’s U.S. Open and also had the benefit of what amounted to a playing lesson with Phil Mickelson on Tuesday at the Lake Course.
Hossler teamed with fellow 17-year-old amateur Alberto Sanchez to edge Lefty and club pro Mark McCormick, 1 up, during a practice-round match on Tuesday. But it was more than victory that Hossler took away from the round.
“Conservative lines and aggressive swings,” Hossler said when asked what he learned from Lefty. “Sometimes you’re going to have a 40-footer but you want to have a speed that leaves you maybe 1 or 2 feet short as opposed to 2 or 3 feet by.”