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U.S. OPEN NOTES

Beau Hossler, 17, keeps his focus and makes the cut at U.S. Open

Orange County teen had the lead by himself at one point in the second round.

June 15, 2012|By Teddy Greenstein and Jeff Shain
  • Beau Hossler plays out of a trap on the eighth hole during the second round of the U.S. Open.
Beau Hossler plays out of a trap on the eighth hole during the second round… (Karl Mondon / MCT )

SAN FRANCISCOBeau Hossler is enjoying hisU.S. Open experience for many reasons. One is the free dry cleaning in the locker room.

"That's pretty sweet," he said.

Most 17-year-olds don't care if their pants are pressed. Hossler is not most 17-year-olds. The kid from Santa Margarita High is on the U.S. Open leaderboard at three over par after rounds of 70-73. He even had the second-round lead to himself until stumbling home with four bogeys and a double.

"I was pretty excited about it, but then again I had another 40 holes at least to play," he said. "You can't get too wrapped up on where you're at."

Hossler is keeping a long-term focus, planning to attend the University of Texas in 2013 — even though Austin is something of a dirty word in his house.

Hossler shot a 68 but finished second last week in the state high school championships. Who beat him? A kid named Austin Smotherman.

Mixed emotions

Casey Martin did himself proud. The "disabled 40-year-old golf coach," as he called himself Tuesday, carded a 74-75 that left him nine over par and sweating the cut line Friday evening.

He missed it by one shot, but he beat the likes of Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy, the world's top-ranked players.

"That's nice," Martin said. "I'm just glad I'm not in last place."

Such a finish would have been understandable considering Martin, Oregon's golf coach, hadn't competed since a 2006 Nationwide Tour event. Or the larger reason, that his rare circulatory disorder forces him to adjust the balance in his swing and limp on the greens.

His fairly steady play left him with mixed emotions.

"It's flattering to get attention like this," he said. "It's a special week, and these experiences don't come around very often. But as a competitor, I'm disappointed right now."

If the U.S. Golf Assn. hadn't changed its rule that anyone within 10 shots made the cut, Martin would be playing this weekend.

Disappointment at home

James Hahn, a resident of nearby San Bruno, provided one of the Open's neat qualifying stories when he made the field after a cross-country flight from a Nationwide Tour stop in North Carolina.

The good vibes continued Thursday when he stood two under with six holes left in his first round. He wound up with a 73, then nothing seemed to go right Friday.

Hahn woke up with a stiff back, couldn't get it loosened up on the range, then double-crossed himself with a hard hook off the first tee that wound up out of bounds. A double bogey became the springboard for an 80 and a missed cut.

"Olympic Club is one of the best golf courses in the world, and I would have loved to make the cut," Hahn said. "I just feel like I let everybody down. I know I didn't, but I just feel that way."

Look at me now

Despite winning the NCAA individual title at Louisiana State last year, John Peterson wasn't among the USGA's selections for the Walker Cup team. Now a professional, he lurks just off the U.S. Open lead after rounds of 71-70.

"I left myself in good spots," Peterson said. "I would miss a green but [leave] it in an easy spot where I could chip it up and make a three- or four-footer for par. A lot of no-stress pars, which is very key out here."

Tap-ins

Nick Watney on the difference between his first-round 69 and second-round 75: "I got off to a rough start. And I guess the other difference would be that I didn't make an albatross." ... Sergio Garcia came up short on his tee shot at the par-three third hole, then took out his frustration on a microphone near the tee box, whacking it with his seven-iron. "Might make the wallet a little lighter," ESPN's Paul Azinger observed.

sports@latimes.com

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