Beau Hossler’s name has frequently appeared near the top of the leaderboard this season, but for the most part it’s been during the first three rounds, as he’s struggled on Sundays. He hopes to change that this week, and if he does it’ll be because of another fast start at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he opened with a bogey-free seven-under 65 to grab a share of the lead with Kevin Streelman.
“For the most part, pretty stress-free [round], hit a lot of greens, had a lot of pretty decent looks at birdie,” Hossler (pictured) said of his low round, which came at Pebble Beach Golf Links, one of three courses used in rotation for the first 54 holes. “The golf course is tough, because the wind can switch pretty easily, especially coming through some of these trees. So, stuck to a relatively conservative game plan, but was able to get a couple long putts to go in at the end.”
The former amateur standout – he briefly led the 2012 US Open as a 17-year-old – was cruising at five-under through 15 holes, and then grabbed two more birdies on his final three holes, holing a 53-foot birdie putt from the fringe at the par-4 16th and then a 35-footer at the par-3 17th. While Hossler had played in only 12 US PGA Tour events prior to this season, the kid who burst on the scene at that US Open at the Olympic Club is clearly up for the challenge, having made eight of nine cuts this season and finishing in the top-10 twice.
“It’s just a comfort level really, but especially coming back to some of these tournaments that I played last year, knowing how the course is going to be set up, knowing exactly what I’m getting in to,” he said. “Obviously last year I was coming off an injury, and then coming out here to these courses and a lot of them I hadn’t even played yet, so, I have a pretty good idea of where they’re going to put the pins, how they’re going to set up the course, and with that I’m able to prepare a little better.”
Tied at the top with Hossler is Streelman, whose bogey-free 65 came at Spyglass Hill, the most difficult of the three courses the players face this week. The two-time US Tour winner looks to capitalise on his consistent play this season, having made all eight cuts and finishing in the top-25 four times.
Matt Kuchar is just one off the lead after carding a six-under 66 at Spyglass Hill. It’s just his second start of 2018, the first coming last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he mounted a late charge before making a bogey at the short par-4 17th at TPC Scottsdale, ultimately finishing T-5. He’s joined at six under by Julian Suri and tour rookie Aaron Wise.
Ten players are at five-under, including world No.1 Dustin Johnson, whose 67 came at Spyglass Hill. Patrick Cantlay also finished with a 67 that began with a birdie, hole-in-one, birdie start on the 10th, 11th and 12th holes at Monterrey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore course.
Victoria’s Cameron Percy is the best-placed Australian, sitting just two strokes off the lead in that group at five-under after a 66 at Monterrey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore course.
Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are among a group at four-under. Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Bubba Watson are at three-under. Jordan Spieth’s early-season struggles continued at Spyglass Hill, where he shot an even-par 72 with one birdie and one bogey, putting him seven off the lead.