Few players on the US PGA Tour have played better on Thursday and Friday this season than Beau Hossler, the former amateur standout from Texas still finding his way in professional golf. Yet, because of some shaky play on the weekend, he hasn’t been able to convert it into a breakthrough victory, though he did come close at the Houston Open.
He’ll get another chance this week, as he is once again at the top of the leaderboard through 36 holes, carding rounds of 65 and Friday’s four-under 66 at TPC Potomac to take a share of the Quicken Loans National lead with Brian Gay and Ryan Armour. More of the same on Saturday and Sunday could finally lead to Hossler raising that first trophy.
“It’s been strong this year,” said Hossler. “I’ve had a lot of really good rounds. Unfortunately, I’ve had some kind of high ones that are uncharacteristic for me.”
Hossler, who birdied four of his last five holes, has still put together a good season despite ranking 159th in final-round scoring average. He’s had four top 10s and seven top 25s, and has twice shown that he close to changing the narrative about his weekend woes. In addition to a runner-up finish to Ian Poulter at Houston, where he shot a Sunday 67 to get into a playoff, he also just tied for second last week at the Travelers Championship, playing his last 36 holes in six under.
“I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing,” he said. “I feel good. The course is scoreable. It’s in perfect shape so you could get it rolling with the putter, and with how hot it is, it’s not playing particularly long. I expect to be in contention heading [into the weekend] and I look forward to it.”
If he can continue to putt the way he has, there’s no reason he won’t be around on Sunday. Hossler ranks second in the field in strokes-gained/putting through two rounds, and seventh in putts per green in regulation.
He’s joined by Armour and Gay, who played alongside each other both days and posted matching totals of nine-under 131. Neither of them denied that it helped to feed off each other’s energy.
“Ryan’s great to play with,” said Gay. “I enjoy playing with him every time we get paired together, and both playing well always helps.”
“Yeah, it helps that we’re kind of the shorter hitters on tour,” said Armour. “So we get to club off each other a little bit. We’re always talking walking up the fairway and we’re not 80 yards ahead of each other.”
One back are Billy Horschel and Francesco Molinari, who fired a five-under 65 to vault up the leaderboard. Despite ranking fourth in the European Ryder Cup Team standings, Molinari opted to play in America as opposed to the European Tour’s HNA French Open, site of this year’s Ryder Cup. Looks like that decision could pay off.
“I’ve played great the few events I’ve played on the European Tour,” said Molinari. “Not so well over here (in America), at least the results weren’t as good over here. So I knew I needed some FedEx points, I watched this course last year and it looked great, so I decided to come here. So far, so good.”
Lurking four shots back at five-under 135 is Tiger Woods, who bounced back from an even-par 70 to shoot a five-under 65 and put himself in contention heading into the weekend.
Australia’s Marc Leishman (67-67) is just three strokes back, while Cameron Percy (69-68) is six behind. Geoff Ogilvy, Aaron Baddeley, Matt Jones, Rod Pampling and New Zealand’s Danny Lee all missed the cut.