For teenage golfer Beau Hossler, the future is now

For most 16-year olds, a weekend in June is all about fun. For Beau Hossler, it was all about business, growing up and realizing a dream.

Instead of hanging out with friends and enjoying a lazy summer weekend, Hossler left his home in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., with his godfather, Bill Schellenberg, who is also his caddie, and came to Congressional to play in the U.S. Open.

Hossler first started hitting the greens at age 10, and qualified for this year’s U.S. Open after winning a playoff at Ironwood in Palm Desert, Calif., and at a regional qualifier at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale, Calif.

But despite his youth and inexperience, or perhaps because of it, Hossler maintained an unfazed, California-cool poise, in spite of the stifling humidity typical of June in the D.C. metropolitan area.

“I was excited,” Hossler said about finding out he had qualified. Excited, but not overwhelmed.

“I feel like I should be out here playing in these tournaments. I didn’t play that well this week, but I feel like this is not above where I should be.”

Hossler shot a 76 in his first round on Thursday, and a 77 in his second round on Friday, to finish at 11-over par. Hossler did well on the fairways, hitting 19 of 28, but did not fair nearly as well on the greens, hitting only 16 of 36. His tournament is over as his total was well above the cut line.

“Yesterday [Thursday] I hit the ball very well, but didn’t get anything out of my round. I struggled on the greens the entire two days. Today I hit the ball pretty scrappy,” Hossler said.

“I didn’t play my best. I felt like my game wasn’t really there this week. But I felt like I controlled my emotions very well and had a good attitude out there, which helped me make some nice shots over the week.”

He hasn’t been a student of the game long enough to compare his style with anyone else on the tour, but admits to being a fan of Phil Mickelson, whom he calls his favorite player.

“I like Mickelson because of his aggressiveness, and because he appreciates all the support he gets from his fans,” Hossler said.

Hossler isn’t expecting a fan club of his own just yet, but knows an appearance at the U.S. Open will bring a lot more name recognition.

“A lot more people will know who I am, but I’m still going to be the same person. It’s just another tournament,” Hossler said.

By Hossler’s side all weekend long was Schellenberg, who was the keeper of the nerves, as well as the clubs.

“I had to be more nervous than he was on 10 [the hole Hossler started on],” said Schellenberg.

“I literally took a knee and sat down to gather myself, cause I thought I might just fall over. It was a very surreal experience to be with him and carry his bag in the U.S. Open is just unreal.

“He just keeps getting bigger and better and longer. He played great. I’m proud of him. At this age to go out and do what he did, and be disappointed because he knows he could have played better, it’s special. He’s a player.”

After his time at Congressional, Hossler has plans to return to California, take a break, hang out with a few buddies and have some fun.

He’s also not done with his schoolwork; the high school sophomore still has an English final to take.

“I’m not studying for that,” Hossler said with a shy smile.

His long-term plans include college, though he hasn’t decided where yet, and he will turn pro after that. Hossler comes across as mature and well grounded for his age, in fact for anyone, and has a clear picture of what he hopes his future will be.

His talent on the golf course simply brings that picture more clearly into focus.

“Obviously it’s very difficult to compete to win the tournament at this stage, but I feel like I can see myself here in the future,” Hossler said.

“I feel like I belong when I’m out here.”

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