Courtesy of Beth Murrison, USGA
Bremerton, Wash. – SCGA Member Beau Hossler, 16, of Mission Viejo, Calif., and Will Starke, 17, of Chapin, S.C., are both playing in their first U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. And each shot 4-under 68 Monday to share the lead after the first round of stroke play.
But Hossler arrived at Gold Mountain GC with a bit of a reputation, as the only person in the field to have played in a U.S. Open, which he did last month at Congressional CC in Bethesda, Md., where he missed the cut. Starke arrived a little under the radar – he is not only playing in his first U.S. Junior Amateur, but his first USGA championship.
Each took different paths to record the low score of the day. Starke credited his solid driving, while Hossler struggled off the tee.
“I hit it terrible all day,” said Hossler, who bogeyed his first hole, the par 4, 378-yard 10th at the par-72, 7,111-yard Olympic Course at Gold Mountain. “I mean, I hit good shots, obviously, to make some birdies, but I was just scrapping it. It was pretty grotesque to watch, but I definitely had some really, really good shots to make up for it, so that was good.”
Despite the shakiness off the tee, Hossler was very pleased with his round, which included several long putts. He made an 8-footer for par on his first hole, a 12-footer for par on No. 13 and a 13-footer for par at the 14th. He converted a 15-footer for birdie at No. 14, his first of five birdies in the round.
“From there, the confidence just grew,” said Hossler, who only played nine holes in a practice round Sunday because his clubs didn’t arrive early enough to play 18 holes. “Knowing that I’m even par through five holes and that I haven’t hit a good shot yet is a good feeling.”
After a second day of stroke play today, the U.S. Junior Amateur field will be reduced to 64 players for match play. The first round of match play is scheduled for Wednesday, the second and third rounds will be played Thursday, the quarterfinal and semifinal matches will be played Friday and the 36-hole championship final will be played Saturday.
Click here for live scores from Tuesday's round.