For many golf fans, the first time they heard Beau Hossler’s name was during his back-to-back U.S. Open appearances as a teenager in 2011 and 2012. From there, Beau went on to have an incredibly successful collegiate career as a Texas Longhorn where he won the 2015 & 2016 Big 12 Player of the Year as well as the 2016 Fred Haskins Award (among many other achievements). Currently out on Tour in pursuit of securing his PGA TOUR card, we took a look back on his early Major experiences and how they helped set the stage for the next phase of his career.
You played in your first U.S. Open as a 16-year-old in 2011 at Congressional. How surreal was that experience for you?
It was pretty special. It was unlike anything I had seen before. I had played in U.S. Amateurs, but it was nothing like the U.S. Open. It was something I had never experienced, and it ended up being something that really helped me going forward.
That first year, I had never really played with a lot of those guys on Tour or been in a professional tournament before, so it was something new to me. It was cool and exciting to see guys that I had always looked up to hitting two stalls down from me on the range… but once the tournament actually got started, that's when the nerves started to kick in.
I hit the ball pretty short back then compared to the rest of the guys, and on top of that, the golf course was really long that year. But I competed pretty well, shooting 77-76, so as a 16-year-old, I was proud of the way I played.
What were you able to take away from participating in your first major that year?
More than anything, it was the preparation. I knew the types of shots I would face. I knew that the pin locations would be tucked close to the edge, so I would have to work on short-sided shots. I also worked a lot on putting on really fast greens, specifically short putts because there would be times when you would have to play 6-inches of break from 5-feet away.
I tried to emulate those scenarios as much as I could. But most of all, I was just more prepared mentally. I knew what I was getting into and I knew the kind of nerves I was going to feel, and as a result, my second U.S. Open went much better.
How does your preparation change ahead of a Major compared to a normal event?
It's more intense. You're playing at a more difficult golf course where par can be a really good score, so having a game plan that suits the conditions of the course can sometimes be a challenge. You need to take your foot off the gas sometimes and determine the right time to be aggressive.
In your second round of the 2012 U.S. Open, you drained a 12-footer on your 10th hole to move to first place. Did you know your standing at the time? What was that moment like for you?
I didn't know exactly where I stood, but I figured I was right up there. To actually hold the solo lead was obviously a cool moment, but at the same time, it was only the middle of the second round. But it was still pretty special—I was just fortunate enough to play well in my home state with all my friends and family around.
You ended up finishing T29 as an amateur. What did that accomplishment do for your career going forward?
More than anything, it allowed me to realize that I could compete at the highest level. You can be a really good player, but until you prove yourself on that level, you don't really know what to expect. From that moment onward, I knew I had a chance to be successful at the professional level, and I'm glad to be here now.
Do you still draw back on that experience and those memories when you're working on your game?
A little bit. It was over 5 years ago and I'm a totally different player now, but I certainly learned a lot and it definitely helped my confidence moving forward.
Being able to draw back on those experiences where you've had to deal with nerves and your hands are a little shaky and you have to pull off a shot, it definitely helps when you've been there before. It's a big confidence booster when you know it can be done.
Now that you’re out on Tour as a professional, what excites you the most?
I'm just really excited about getting up every day and getting better at the one thing I really love to do. Not many people have the opportunity to do what they love for "work." But to go out and play professional golf at the highest level against guys who are really competitive is a blessing and I'm just really fortunate to even be in this position.
This week, Beau heads into the Travelers Championship coming off the best finish of his professional career after a solo 2nd at the Web.com Tour’s Air Capital Classic. Set to tee it up at TPC River Highlands, Beau hopes to carry his success from the Web.com Tour onto the PGA TOUR and make his mark at the game’s highest level.
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