Hossler making 2nd U.S. Open start at 17

By Associated PressJune 14, 2012, 1:14 am

SAN FRANCISCO – At 17, Beau Hossler is almost old news at the U.S. Open.

That's what happens when a 14-year-old gets in the field at The Olympic Club and all Hossler has done is qualify two straight years as a high school amateur.

Even Hossler's dad said all the media attention on Andy Zhang this week was warranted.

''I understand the crowds around a 14-year-old getting in. That is incredible,'' Beau Hossler Sr. said Wednesday. ''He deserves that attention.''

While Zhang will be battling the nerves of a first-time competitor, Hossler is feeling right at home.

He and fellow amateur Alberto Sanchez took money off Phil Mickelson and Mark McCormick on Tuesday in a little old-vs.-young match-play competition.

And Wednesday, Hossler was playing a relaxed practice round with Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Zach Johnson – who have a combined 41 previous U.S. Opens under their belts.

''It's pretty cool,'' said Hossler, who birdied two of his final three holes at the nearby Daly City sectional to qualify this year. ''I feel like I'm a little more experienced this year. I feel comfortable out here.''

That has changed his goals – even if he shares the same braces-filled smile as Zhang.

''I want to be low amateur, and play the entire tournament,'' Hossler said about making the cut, which he failed to do last year in shooting rounds of 76-77 at Congressional.

That would mean faring better than Walker Cup players Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth – the latter a big reason Hossler committed to play at Texas in 2013.

''I think (Olympic) suits my game better in that it's very difficult off the tee and plays hard and fast,'' Hossler said.

Of course, just a few years ago getting off the tee was hardly Hossler's strong suit.

''I'm going to say he was 5-3, 130 pounds, and that might be pushing it,'' his father said about his son competing as a 14-year-old in his first U.S. Amateur. ''It was impossible. He had to lay up at seven of the par 4s.''

The kid from Rancho Santa Margarita in Orange County finally shot up at age 16, which left him feeling less-than-coordinated at last year's U.S. Open.

Now he's steady at 6 feet and 190 pounds.

Swing coach Jim Flick, best known for working with Jack Nicklaus, estimated that Hossler's game is 10-15 percent stronger this year, and he's more of a complete player.

The kid high school teammates dubbed ''laser'' because of his pinpoint accuracy just doesn't always show it in practice.

Flick likened Hossler to NFL player Tim Tebow.

''Tebow seemed to practice poorly and play well when it really counted,'' Flick said. ''Beau seems to enjoy the challenge, and mentally seems to go through a transformation when it comes time to play.''

Flick, who spent two days earlier this week working with Hossler at Olympic, said being a late-bloomer and a short-hitter only helped Hossler hone his short game.

That practice round Tuesday with Mickelson, Hossler's idol, might have been even more important.

''Phil is like his guy and he's been his guy since Beau was 5 or 6 years old,'' his father said. ''He was engaging and needling the boys and couldn't have been any better. Considering he's one of the favorites to win this thing, for him to take the time to do that was something Beau will never forget. You could see when he walked off and Phil gave him a pat on the butt, he was like, 'Hey, this is neat.'

''I'm sure it helps his confidence a lot.''

It also will help having more than two dozen friends cheering him on from outside the ropes.

Jeff Higashi, a family friend for years, wasn't surprised Hossler survived local and sectional qualifying again to get into another U.S. Open.

''He's mentally so superior,'' said Higashi, who remembers seeing Hossler reading golf magazines when he was 10. ''He's not caught up in it all. He's not just here to play. He wants to succeed.''

Considering how hectic his life has been – he recently finished taking finals in Latin and other advanced placement courses to complete his junior year – Hossler was cool and collected on Olympic. Off No. 1 on Wednesday, he hit a perfect drive, sitting side by side with Furyk and Johnson in the fairway, then followed with a pin-high approach and two-putted for an easy par.

''He is a special player who we're going to be reading a lot about in the next three years,'' said Chuck Morales, Hossler's high school coach.

Hossler is planning to make it three U.S. Opens in a row next year.

But the University of Texas also awaits after he finishes his senior season early. Then, hopefully, a long pro career.

''I know I can compete,'' Hossler said. ''I've just got to believe in myself and keep working. It's not going to happen overnight.''

But it makes this experience that much more valuable.

As for being overshadowed by a 14-year-old, practice partner Furyk found it difficult to rate which was more impressive.

''They're both impressive feats,'' Furyk said. ''Now if both make the cut, it will be another story line.''

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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  

Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos

On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Purse: $6 million

Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.

Notables in the field

Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson

• Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

• Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open

Sergio Garcia

• Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

• Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)

Webb Simpson

• Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

• 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.