Weekday warrior Hossler tied for lead at Quicken Loans
June 29, 2018
By Ben Everill , PGATOUR.COM
- Beau Hossler's 9-under 131 total is his best 36-hole score-to-par this season. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, Md. – If you keep knocking on a door eventually someone might answer it but Beau Hossler is sick of knocking … he might just break it down this weekend.
Hossler, fresh off finishing runner up last week at the Travelers Championship, fired a 4-under 66 on Friday at the Quicken Loans National to move to 9-under.
It was good enough to hold a share of the lead with Ryan Armour and Brian Gay at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.
Hossler is 31st in the FedExCup thanks to his two runner-up finishes (he lost in a playoff to Ian Poulter at the Houston Open), plus further top 10s at the Sanderson Farms Championship and Shriners Hospital for Childrens Open.
But despite playing great in his first full season on TOUR it could easily have been better.
He’s started the weekend inside the top-10 11 times in his career, 10 of those were this season but connected for just the four top 10 finishes.
Weekday heroics have been common place for the 23-year-old who coming into this tournament averaged 68.91 in opening rounds and 69.86 in round two.
That ranked him second on TOUR for opening rounds and 21st in round two.
But his weekends have been less than stellar on most occasions.
His scoring average in round three drops to 70.68, which is 86th on TOUR, and his Sunday average backs up to 71.89 – a distant 159th on TOUR.
But he points to last week at the Travelers were both his weekend rounds were under par.
“It's been strong this year, I've had a lot of really good rounds. Unfortunately, I've had some kind of high ones that are uncharacteristic for me,” Hossler said.
“I think that was six in a row in the 60s, so I'm feeling good, my game feels really good. I'm getting it in play nicely off the tee and I'm rolling the putter really well so that obviously helps.”
WOODS WORKS WAY UP BOARDS … Tiger Woods insisted he putted well on Thursday despite ranking 92nd of 120 players in Strokes Gained: Putting. On Friday his numbers proved it as he needed just 26 putts to shoot a classy 5-under 65 and get within striking distance of the lead. Read more about his round here.
LOOSE STREELMAN SHOOTS 62 … Kevin Streelman was understandably a little annoyed at his opening round of 2-over 72 but after some reflection, and remembering the plight of others much more unfortunate, he loosened up on Friday.
Despite a horrible warm up Streelman went out and shot a tournament low 8-under 62, including a 29 on his first nine holes, to rocket back into contention at 6 under.
He hit 17 of 18 greens and 13 of 14 fairways and made 106 feet of putts.
It was the tragic news about Hunter Mahan’s sister in law and her battle with cancer, coupled with another family close to Streelman’s heart, that allowed him to play loose.
When Streelman was a youngster local man Jim Phelan gave him $5000 to help kickstart his career, a gesture that has never been forgotten.
As such Streelman stays with the family when he plays in the Washington D.C. area but unfortunately Jim died of cancer a three years ago.
“Waking up and hearing the news about Kandi Mahan's sister … just kind of puts it in perspective. My family's not with me today. I really just wanted to kind of kiss my wife and my kids,” Streelman said.
“And staying here with the Phelan’s… it put all this in a proper place this morning to just knowing where your priorities are with our family and healthy children and loved ones.
“Golf is a game and we all love it, but when it's in its proper place in your life I think is when you tend to play your best. Sometimes we make it too important whether we're playing great or playing bad. I found my greatest highlights on the golf course have been when I've kind of pushed that down a little bit, put faith, family and friends ahead. This was just one of those days.
“Today was pretty close to a flawless round. I literally had probably the worst warmup of my PGA TOUR career today… it's such a funny game. Wasn't too confident walking to the tee, but laced one down 10, hit a 5‑wood about 20 feet, then got horseshoed for an eagle. So from there it was just off to the races.”
ARMOUR AND GAY FEED OFF EACH OTHER CHASING OPEN BERTHS … Ryan Armour and Brian Gay are acutely aware they can book tickets to the Open Championship at Carnoustie on July 19-22 if they continue their good form this week.
But they are chasing higher honors.
The top four players not otherwise exempt that finish in the top 12 this week at the Quicken Loans National earn spots in the next major.
Currently those places belong to Armour, Gay and Beau Hossler – who sit tied for the lead at 9 under – and Billy Horschel who is one shot behind.
Horschel is tied with Francesco Molinari however the Italian is already in the Carnoustie field.
But for Gay and Armour, the weekend is about PGA TOUR victory.
Armour is looking to snatch his second win of the season having taken out the Sanderson Farms Championship last fall.
Gay is a four-time winner but is now over five years removed from his last success.
Playing together over the first two rounds helped spur each other along.
“Brian got off to such a hot start, you were just trying to keep up,” Armour said.
“It just seemed like he was birdieing every hole. So you were just trying not to fall too far behind him and if you do that, you probably were up near the lead.”
HORSCHEL VOWS TO STAY AGGRESSIVE … While most players are wary of how hard TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm might play this weekend as high temperatures dry out the greens Billy Horschel has vowed to stay aggressive.
Horschel backed up his opening 64 with a 68 to be just one shot off the lead as he chases a second win this season to go with his triumph at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
“We're still going to try and go out there, put two more rounds in the 60s, see where it puts us for Sunday,” Horschel said.
“We'll go out there and try to be aggressive, try to win the golf tournament, not hoping that I can back into a win.”
A frank discussion with his caddie Josh Cassell over the last few days have also steeled Horschel’s resolve
“He was saying there's two different sides of you out on the golf course, the side that is confident and knows he's going to hit a good shot and walks up into it like I'm going to hit a good shot, to the Billy that tries too hard and is hoping to hit a good golf shot,” Horschel revealed.
“So I'm trying to be more of the one that knows I'm going to walk in and hit a good golf shot and that's what I've done the last two days. We've done a really good job of that and that's what we're going to hopefully carry on to the next two days.”
MOLINARI MAKING FEDEXCUP MOVES … Francesco Molinari has had a great run on the European Tour of late, winning the BMW PGA Championship and being runner up at the Italian Open a week later.
But his performance on the PGA TOUR has been less impressive as the Italian is yet to finish in the top 10 from 12 starts.
Running 123rd in the FedExCup he knew he needed to make moves and penciled in this week and the John Deere Classic as tournaments to do so.
So far so good after rounds of 67-65 have him tied fourth just a shot off the lead.
“I knew I needed some FedExCup points and I watched this course last year on TV and decided to come here,” Molinari explained.
“I enjoy playing on the PGA TOUR and I want to keep playing here, so I need the points. As simple as that.”
On Friday he hit all 18 greens in regulation in his bogey-free round, just the second time in his PGA TOUR career he managed the feat.
“I didn't even realize I hit all greens, but it was very good, very solid,” he said.
“Obviously I managed to stay in the moment very well. It was a very solid round of golf and hopefully more to come on the weekend.”
RICKIE FOWLER – A steady 66 has Fowler sitting at 4 under and within striking range if he can go low this weekend.
KYLE STANLEY – The defending champion shot 67 on Friday to move to 2 under and a tie for 36th.
MARC LEISHMAN – A second straight 67 for the Australian has him sitting 6 under and just three shots back.
JIMMY WALKER – The former PGA Championship winner fought back from a 74 with a 67 to make the cut on the number.
QUOTABLESI'm not that far away from putting it together where I can win.It’s good to be close to home. It's not too much of an issue if you overpack, you don't get charged excess baggage in your car.
Had a good pro‑am on Monday with some guys that just kind of told me that I was a really good putter, not to try so hard. Shout out to Vito out there for helping me out.
Low round: 8-under 62 – Kevin Streelman
Longest drive: 361 yards – Jason Kokrak on the Par-4 15th hole.
Longest putt: 66 feet – Ryan Palmer on the par-4 11th.
Toughest hole: Par-4 11th hole at 4.333 with just seven birdies, 30 bogeys, seven doubles and one other.
Easiest hole: Par-4 14th at 3.600. Yielded three eagles, 57 birdies, 12 bogeys and 1 other.
CALL OF THE DAY
For play-by-play coverage of the third round of the 2018 Quicken Loans National, listen at PGATOUR.COM.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Shot of the Day
Tiger Woods chips in to birdie for Shot of the Day