Hossler captures the Open's imagination

Amateur Beau Hossler waves after making a birdie

Amateur Beau Hossler waves after making a birdie on the first hole during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament. (June 15, 2012) (Credit: AP)

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Before he reached the first tee Sunday, Beau Hossler had momentum. While Tiger Woods was struggling on the second green, on his way to a bogey, his huge gallery heard the singing for the teenager who was making his way to the course from the practice green: "Let's Go Hoss-ler!"

The 17-year-old high school junior from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., did not win the U.S. Open, as he had set as his aim on Saturday, but he sure captured the heart of a nation. During the final round of the Open Sunday at Olympic Club, he was the subject of this tweet from former U.S. Women's Open champion -- and noted heartthrob -- Paula Creamer: "Beau I will go to the prom with you!!!"

That no doubt would bring yet another smile, again revealing his braces, when he sees it. Or if he sees it, considering he is not a big Twitter guy. "I don't really know how it works. I just kind of follow the funny ones like the Will Ferrell," he said during his run that ended with a 5-over-par 75, to leave him at 9-over.

He wound up losing the battle down the stretch for low amateur honors to his future Texas teammate Jordan Spieth, who turned in a 70 to finish at 7 over. A birdie on No. 15 helped, but Hossler made double bogey on the 18th. "He's a good friend of mine from junior golf and I think that I would like to say I helped convince him to come to Texas," Spieth said.

Hossler is an honors student who is finishing high school early so he can start at Texas next spring.

"I'm aware of how good a player he is and what he's capable of doing," Spieth said. "He's just walking with a little extra cockiness in his step out here."

Hossler became a U.S. sensation after having led the Open outright for a while on Friday and ending the third round tied for eighth.

It was quite an achievement for a fellow who, playing for Santa Margarita Central, had finished second in the California state high school championship earlier this month. "I lost by one, unfortunately. I shot 68," Hossler said.

Hossler's presence at the Open was historic because he had qualified last year, too, so he was the first teen since Mason Rudolph (1950-51) to make it two years in a row. His play continued a youth theme that began with 14-year-old Andy Zhang becoming the youngest ever to play in an Open.

The public sure showed its appreciation for Hossler on the weekend. "It's amazing," he said. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate the support from everybody out there."

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