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courtesy of MaxPreps.comMaxPreps.com
MitchMash: Beau Hossler simply won't go awayJun 17, 2012 With his silver braces glistening and giant white visor covering his eyes, Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) High School incoming senior Beau Hossler sat across from Bob Costas, poised and confident.
It was the same calm he's shown standing over putts and uneven lies the last three days and 54 holes in our nation's biggest golf event at arguably its toughest course – The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
The overgrown puppy-like 6-foot-1, 190-pound 17-year-old had just rattled off another even-par round of 70 Saturday that left him tied for eighth and just four shots off the lead heading into Sunday's final round.
In front of a live nationally-televised audience, Hossler fielded one query after another from the world's most polished broadcaster. He didn't stutter or stammer or offer an "ah" or a "you know."
But when Costas hit him with this – "How do you think it's going to be different when you back for your senior year at Santa Margarita High School?" – Hossler slightly shanked one into the bunker.
"It will be different," Hossler said. "But I'll be the same me as I've always been. … I love having fun at school."
Just then, Hossler caught himself. He sounded perhaps like he didn't take school seriously – even though it's widely been reported this week that he owns a 4.0 grade point average.
"I mean, not in class obviously… But (I love having fun) with my friends during breaks and at lunch."
It was a good, clean recovery by Hossler, but then, he'd been doing that all day from tee to green.
With just about everyone expecting this prep rags to PGA riches story to go away, Hossler kept fighting back one time after another after another after another.
Four times he faltered with a bogey – the most painful a 3-putt from six-feet away on No. 13 – and each time he flourished with a birdie on the very next hole.
Talk about gumption. He simply wouldn't go away and either will this hard-to-believe story.
His 3-over 213 score is four back of co-leaders Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk and one shot better than – get this – 14-time major champion Tiger Woods.
At this point, Hossler has proved he's neither overwhelmed or awe-struck with the moment. Not on the course, on the greens, in the media tent or in front of the piping hot post-round television lights.
"I didn't realize that I did that, but that's what I strive for," Hossler told Costas about his birdie-to-bogey responses Saturday. "To bounce back is huge, because you can easily join the bogey train out here. But I think birding afterward really salvages your round."
His godfather and caddie Bill Schellenberg said Hossler's resolve and recovery ability is one of his greatest strengths.
"The kid doesn't quit," Schellenberg told the reporters after Saturday's round. "He has an unbelievable ability to get upset, get it out and get it over with and get onto the next shot. … It's just awesome."
And now he's not satisfied with his original goal entering the tournament – finishing as the low amateur. Now he wants the grand salami, the fairytale finish, the Hollywood ending.
The University of Texas-bound standout thinks he can become the third amateur to win the U.S. Open, joining Francis Ouimet and Bobby Jones, who did it four times. Hossler is already the first high school player to qualify for consecutive U.S. Opens since 1951.
He'll tee off at 2:20 p.m. (PDT) with Jason Duffner, three groups after Woods and five groups before Furyk and McDowell.
"I feel like today I've put myself in position to even win the championship if I play well tomorrow," Hossler told Costas. "Unfortunately I let a few slip away at the end but I made some pars and you can never really complain about that at the U.S. Open."
If he wins, you can bet things will largely be different around Santa Margarita, which is best known lately for its state bowl championship football team, that MaxPreps just ranked fourth nationally heading into 2012.
I'm afraid those Eagles would take a backseat to Hossler if he slays Tiger, McDowell, Furyk and the rest. It would be the biggest prep story of a meaty 2011-12 school year.
Not only would his U.S. Open win be epic but historic. He'd be the first to ever win sporting braces.
E-mail Mitch Stephens at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MitchMashMax.