SAN FRANCISCO -- At the start of this week's U.S. Open, 17-year-old Beau Hossler just wanted to be low amateur. That remained his goal through his first 36 holes.
"I still have the goal to be low amateur," said Hossler, who will soon enter his senior year of high school, "but my goal now is to win the tournament."
Asked if he thinks he can win on Sunday, Hossler replied: "Absolutely. There's not a doubt in my mind. Got to go out there and do everything right mentally and physically, but it's definitely out there for me."
Hossler continues to defy the odds that suggest a teenage amateur can't hold up under the intense pressure and rugged scoring conditions of a U.S. Open. Hossler shot an even-par 70 on Saturday that keeps him at 3 over for the tournament and tied for eighth going into the final round.
He arrived at the 18th green to a standing ovation. The Californian can expect even more cheers should he stay in contention on Sunday.
"It's amazing," Hossler said. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate the support from everybody out there. Not only my family and friends from home, but all the people in the Bay Area. It's really special."
On Saturday, the biggest key to Hossler's round was his bounce-back ability. He immediately followed every bogey with a birdie. He also holed a few lengthy par putts to keep his round from unraveling.
"That's something I try to do," Hossler said about bouncing back from bogeys. "Not always successful with it, but the key out there is definitely staying away from the bogey train, because that can kill you."
Although the pressure will be cranked up even higher Sunday, amateurs have a habit of playing well here. Matt Kuchar finished tied for 10th at the 1998 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club but he was in college at the time.
Hossler won't get to college until the fall of 2013 when he starts at the University of Texas.
For now, he's concentrating on going into a major championship on Sunday with a chance to win. And if he gets to the back nine still in the hunt?
"Obviously I'm not experienced in there, so I can't really talk about what it's going to be like, but I know from other tournaments that I feel pretty comfortable coming down the back nine when I'm in contention," Hossler said. “So obviously it's a little bit different being the U.S. Open, but I put myself in contention in many tournaments and have come through successfully."