Beau Hossler defends title at SCGA Amateur

RANCHO SANATA FE, Calif. — Beau Hossler joined limited company Sunday, becoming just the eighth man to win back-to-back SCGA Amateur Championship titles. His dominant, wire-to-wire victory left him four strokes ahead of the rest of the field.

“This win is just as sweet,” said Hossler. “It’s nice to win, but it’s especially nice to win back-to-back. I feel like I’ve gotten really comfortable out here, obviously in this tournament, but in California in general, where I feel like my game is stacking up pretty well to the competition.”

The 19-year-old Hossler becomes the first since Scott McGihon in 2005-2006 to win two-straight SCGA Amateur titles, and the youngest to accomplish the feat. He will likely attempt to become the first to win three straight Championships next year at Oakmont CC, as Hossler currently has no intention of leaving school early to turn professional.

“I still have a lot to do in Austin,” said Hossler. “I want to help my team win a NCAA Championship, and I’ve got a lot of work to do before I’m ready to turn pro.”

For now, the Mission Viejo CC member is content putting together quite a nice amateur golf resume, winning two SCGA Amateur Championship titles and earning a runner-up finish at the 2014 California Amateur Championship, all in the past year. He now hopes to carry that momentum into this summer’s national events, including the 2014 U.S. Amateur Championship, which he qualified for last week in Las Vegas.

“I’m very humbled to have won a couple of these SCGA Championships,” said Hossler. “I think I’ve set myself up well to move on and hopefully win some national tournaments now.”

Hossler began the final round of play with a four-stroke lead, with 2004 Champion Tim Hogarth sitting in second place. Hossler got out to a hot start, playing the first seven holes in 3-under-par and extending his lead to six strokes at the turn.

But the win was not a forgone conclusion, as Hogarth still had a lot of fight left in him. Representing the only non-collegiate golfer in the Top 10, Hogarth, a five-time SCGA Mid-Amateur Champion, birdied holes 10, 11 and 14 to cut Hossler’s lead down to three.

But like he’s done so many times in the past, Hossler collected a birdie when he needed it most, draining a long putt on No. 15 to cut down his opponents rally. Hogarth gave it one last go on No. 16, taking advantage of a rare Hossler bogey, but a birdie bid hung on the lip of the hole, refusing to drop in. The putt would have put Hogarth just two strokes back.

“It’s tough to do,” said Hossler of playing with a big lead. “A four-shot advantage may sound like a lot, but it can go away in two quick holes. Hogarth hit it great, really put some pressure on me, so I had to stay focused and just try and beat the golf course and that’s what I was able to do.”

Hossler’s win included rounds of 68, 68, 72 and 68 for a total of 12-under-par. Hogarth finished tied for second with Tyler Torano, a recent Loyola Marymount University graduate, who concluded the tournament with a final-round score of 5-under-par 67 that included a series of five-straight birdies. Rounding out the top 5 was San Diego State golfer Gunn Yang and UCLA’s Manav Shah.

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