LA JOLLA, Calif. (July 15, 2011) -- Driving out of the players’ parking lot at Congressional Country Club last month, Beau Hossler was in no mood to consider the positives of his week at the U.S. Open.
It didn’t matter that the Orange County 16-year-old was the third-youngest ever to play in the Open. Or that he had a chance to compete in a major championship and get advice from golfers such as Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas.
The competitor in Hossler could only brood about shooting 76-77 and missing the weekend of the Rory McIlory Show.
“It’s not like I was thinking this is a great experience,” Hossler said. “I played like crap and I needed to go fix my game to prepare for bigger events.”
Hossler was relating this on Friday afternoon with a whole new perspective as a winner in the Callaway Junior World Championships. He shot a somewhat wobbly 2-over-par 74 in the fourth round on the Torrey Pines South Course, but held on to win the Boys 15-17 Division with a 3-under 285 total, two shots better than Bryson DeChambeau (72) of Clovis.
Hossler’s victory ended a 10-year run of domination by foreigners in the division. Anthony Kim had been the last American to win the title in 2001.
In the Girls 15-17 on Torrey North, 16-year-old Hyo-Joo Kim of South Korea scored 3-under 71 and won by five shots at 15-under. She is the seventh straight foreign player to win the championship.
“Looking back on the (Open) experience, everything is 100 percent positive,” Hossler said. “To be honest, coming here felt like a small tournament. I played against the best professionals in the world, and here I was playing against the best juniors in the world. Normally, it would have been, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m lucky to be playing in this tournament.’
“I felt like I should win this tournament because I played on the biggest stage in golf. Coming from that, it put things in perspective.”
Hossler, who reached the U.S. Open through sectional qualifying, won two American Junior Golf Association events last year, but he called his Junior World triumph his biggest. “It’s the best field, the biggest field,” he said. “It’s a good stepping stone for me. It doesn’t matter what tournament you’re winning as long as you’re getting the experience of winning and what it feels like to play on the back nine when you have the lead, how nerve-wracking it is.”
Hossler showed those nerves on Friday when he opened with a bogey and suffered three bogeys in his first eight holes on the back nine. DeChambeau did well to apply pressure by making birdies at 11, 13, 15 and 17.
DeChambeau scored another birdie at 18, but Hossler matched him after laying up on the par-5 finisher. Twice earlier in the week Hossler had put his ball in the water while going for the green in two, but on both occasions he displayed his scrambling skills by getting up and down for par.
“I would say the most important things I can say about Beau is his ability to learn from his failures and his disappointments,” said renowned golf instructor Jim Flick, who has been working with Hossler for about five years. “You’ve got to learn how to win to have success on the course and let your failure and disappointment motivate you to work harder. You’re not always going to be successful in this crazy game.”
Hossler said he struggled with his game for months and a lesson that he took with Flick at TaylorMade in Carlsbad earlier in the week made all of the difference.
“It was huge,” he said. “If hadn’t gone to see him I wouldn’t have won.”
The top San Diego finisher was Xander Schauffele of Scripps Ranch, who tied for 14th at 5-over.
In the girls’ competition, Kim was only 3-under after two rounds. But she made one eagle and 11 birdies over her last 34 holes in shooting back-to-back 68s on the North Course.
Colombia’s Lina Aguillon scored 70 in the last round to finish solo second. Her chances were damaged when she scored 77 on Thursday. Hannah Kim of Chula Vista recorded a 71 on Friday and tied for fifth at 4-under.
The victory by Kim capped the most dominating performance by Asians in the tournament’s 44-year history. Asians won nine of the 12 divisions, with Japan and China capturing three titles each.
View results for IMG Junior World Golf Championships