Hossler shares lead at Panama Claro Championship
February 16, 2017
By Royce Thompson, PGATOUR.COM
- February 16, 2017
- Former University of Texas phenom Beau Hossler played bogey-free in the first round at Panama GC. (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
PANAMA CITY, Panama – Matt Atkins, Andrew Putnam, Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada product Adam Svensson and Beau Hossler are tied for the lead after the first round of the Panama Claro Championship. The quartet played during the morning wave and navigated Panama Golf Club in 6-under-par 64.
Kurt Kitayama, Web.com Tour money leader Ethan Tracy, Cameron Wilson, PGA TOUR Canada alum Sam Ryder and Ted Potter Jr. are a shot back heading into the second round.
Hossler recorded the only blemish-free round during the morning wave at Panama Golf Club. The former Fred Haskin Award winner made four birdies and an eagle to kick off his debut on the Web.com Tour.
“It was a good start,” said Hossler, who received a sponsor’s invitation this week. “I don’t think I chipped one time. Six-under is always good; keeping the bogeys off the card is even better.”
The highlight of Hossler’s round came at the par-5 fourth hole where he elected to aim his tee shot at the third hole. Playing from the fairway, of the adjacent hole, the 21-year-old from Mission Viejo, California, knocked a hybrid onto the green and made a 30-foot uphill putt for eagle to move into a share of first.
As a professional, Hossler has played in two PGA TOUR events, with his best showing coming in San Diego at the Farmers Insurance Open, where he placed T49. The former Texas Longhorn earned his first professional victory at the Cypresswood Open on the Adams Pro Tour last December. Despite not having status on any major Tour, the goal remains the same every time Hossler enters an event.
“I want to win,” said Hossler, who claimed five titles during his junior campaign in Austin. “Whether it’s here or a mini tour or the PGA TOUR … when I show up to a tournament, I want to give myself an opportunity to win. I feel like my game is good enough to do that, it’s just a matter of getting it done.”
A stellar collegiate career ended on a sour note when Hossler was forced to concede a singles match, during the NCAA Championship, because he injured his left shoulder. The diagnosis was a torn labrum, which required surgery and countless hours of rehab. Hossler tackled the challenge and remained positive throughout the process. He tested his shoulder in November and says it is fully functional as his schedule ramps up in the coming weeks.
“The recovery process was long,” said Hossler, who was unable to pick up a club for five months. “I feel really good with where I’m at now. I feel healthy, I feel more of an appreciation for what we do. It’s pretty special to play golf and make money doing it. I’m looking forward to getting the season going in the right direction.”
Svensson hit all 18 greens in the first round and posted his lowest score of the season after missing the cut in his first three starts. The 23-year-old from Surrey, British Columbia, switched to a putter similar to the model he used to earn medalist honors at the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament in 2015.
“Just stick with the putter, said Svensson, who changed putter 16 times during last season. “I need to eliminate the three-putts and stick to one putter. I just went back to what I putted well with, and I’m rolling it pretty good right now.”
Putnam is off to the best start of his career and is currently No. 6 on the Tour money list. He even bested his brother, Michael, by three on Thursday. In 76 events played on Tour, Putnam has amassed 32 top-25s, with eight of them coming in Latin America.
“I feel like I always play pretty good in Latin America,” said Putnam, who carded a personal-low 64 in his 13th competitive round at Panama GC. “I don’t know exactly what it is. Maybe it’s the time off and being rested. I’m putting myself in good spots these first few events, so hopefully I can stick to the game plan and have a chance on Sunday.”
Atkins is making his third start in the Panama Claro Championship and hoping this week can jump-start his season. A balky putter has led to a tough start to his third year on Tour, where he has missed three cuts and posted just one round under par. The 26-year-old from Aston, Pennsylvania, relies heavily on the flat stick to go low and worked hard on his technique in an unusual place to get better.
“It was an awkward start to the season,” said Atkins. “I knew that I wasn’t playing too bad even though I missed three cuts to start the season. That may lead people to believe that it wasn’t in good shape, but I felt good.”
“I actually got some good putting practice in, in the hotel room,” he continued. “I felt like that was the key for me. I haven’t putted well in a couple of years. I would go through streaks where I didn’t make any putts. I feel like that’s the strongest part of my game and I really holed a lot of putts today inside of 10 feet.”
* Thursday weather: Sunny, high of 90 and windy in the afternoon.
* This week’s purse is $625,000, with $112,500 going to the winner.
* Beau Hossler is making his Web.com Tour debut this week via a sponsor’s invitation after failing to Monday-qualify for the Genesis Open.
* Hossler’s eagle at the fourth hole was one of two on the hole. There were four eagles made during the first round.
* Hossler has competed in two PGA TOUR events since turning pro (T49—Farmers Insurance Open, CUT – AT&T Pebble Beach Pro- Am).
* Hossler turned professional following the 2016 NCAA Championship and made his professional debut in the TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational in November (T8). He earned his first professional victory in December in a 36-hole event on the Adams Pro Tour, the Cypresswood Open in Spring, Texas, his third start since turning professional in July after leaving the University of Texas with one year of eligibility remaining. Hossler shot rounds of 67-66 and earned $5,200.
* As an amateur, Hossler was 17 when he qualified for his second consecutive U.S. Open, finishing T29 in the 2012 U.S. Open. He held the outright lead midway through the second round. In 2015, Hossler qualified for the U.S. Open for a third time and finished T58. At the 2016 NCAA Championship, Hossler injured his left shoulder and was forced to concede his singles match against the University of Oregon team who eventually went on to win the title. In three seasons at the University of Texas, he won six times, including five titles during his junior campaign and won the 2016 Fred Haskins Award as the year's most outstanding collegiate golfer.
* In three appearances at the Panama Claro Championship, Andrew Putnam has finished T39 (2013), T15 (2014), and T27 (2016). Putnam is in search of his second win on Tour. In 2014, he won the wind-shortened WNB Golf Classic.
* Putnam has recorded a T8 (The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic), T11 (The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic) and a solo fifth (Club Colombia Championship) in the first three events of the season.
* Adam Svensson carded his lowest round at Panama GC on Thursday morning. Last year, Svensson carded 69-71-66-71—277 (3-under) for a T14. Last season, Svensson posted two top-10s, with the first one coming at the LECOM Health Challenge in July.
* Sam Ryder posted a 5-under 65 on Thursday afternoon. Last week, he arrived in Bogota with flu-like symptoms and missed the cut because he couldn’t play a practice round. This week, he is feeling a lot better and played 27 holes at Panama GC before the first round.
* Club Colombia Championship by Servientrega champion Ethan Tracy birdied his final hole of the day for a 5-under 65. Tracy also leads the money list over former Arkansas teammate Andrew Landry, who carded an even-par 70 on Thursday.
* Roberto Diaz is currently the top-ranked Mexican player in the world, which means he is poised to earn an exemption into the World Golf Championships – Mexico Championship with a good performance this week. Diaz carded a 1-over 71 and is T71 after the first round.
R1 – Beau Hossler (64), Mark Anderson (66), Chris Baker (66).