Beau Hossler has never won on the PGA Tour, but he hopes to change that this week.
The 28-year-old Hossler, from Rancho Santa Margarita, carded a 9-under-par 62 to take a one-stroke lead over Cameron Champ of Sacramento and J.T, Poston in the first round of the 41st Shriners Children’s Open, which has halted by darkness late in the day at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.
“Every part of my game felt good,” said Hossler, who came closest to winning on the PGA Tour when he lost to Ian Poulter of England in a playoff at the 2018 Houston Open. “To shoot that low, you’ve got to have good looks. Making some fairly stress-free birdies is nice.
“I think we kind of got lucky with the draw, to be honest, playing in the afternoon. This morning looked pretty cold and blustery, and it’s rare that the afternoon is calmer, but it felt pretty calm. I was fortunate there. I’ve been on the other side of that too many times. I don’t feel bad for them.
“If I can get it in play in the fairway the rest of the week, I like my chances of having some good scoring opportunities, but that’s kind of the key, especially with Bermuda rough. It’s really hard to control the distance, so you’ve got to keep it in the short grass.”
Hossler, who played college golf at Texas, took the solo lead when he made his eighth birdie on a 13-foot putt on the last hole after also sinking a six-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole of his 62.
Champ also made an eagle on a three-foot putt on No. 9 and added six birdies in a bogey-free 63, while Poston made two eagles with a 22-foot putt on the ninth hole and an 11-footer at No. 15 adding six birdies in his on 63.
“I just felt in control of really just my head, my emotions, my thoughts,” said Champ, who claimed the last of his three PGA Tour victories in the 2021 3M Open. “It was just kind of a free-spirited round. I drove it well, ironed it well, putted it very well. I’m reading the greens good this week. I feel like I kind of have a grasp on that. So yeah, it was just a nice, as non-stressful a round as I’ve had in a while, and we’ll just keep trying to do that.
“I think earlier, I was just getting in my own way, honestly, probably in really the last two years. I finally kind of started officially getting help with that, and it’s just recently that I’ve finally accepted it and have to do something about it. Again, it’s a start, and obviously for me when I feel just a little bit relieved and I can just go play my game, I know what I’m capable of.”
Said Poston, who won the 2022 John Deere Classic for his second PGA Tour victory: “I wasn’t hitting it great kind of earlier in the week when we got here. But today, I felt like I had a lot of control of the golf ball. “We’ve played enough tournaments out here, and you get conditions like the wind we had this morning. Sometimes it’s the opposite, it’s really windy (in practice rounds) and then it’s calm in the tournament. You just kind of have to take it as it comes.”
Lexi Thompson of the LPGA Tour, who is playing in her first PGA Tour event on a sponsor’s exemption, was one-over-par in a tie for 76th through 16 holes and looking at a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 17 when she marked her ball as darkness came.
Thompson, the seventh woman to play in a PGA Tour event and the first in five years, made three birdies in addition to a double-bogey 6 at No. 7 and two bogeys.
“I played decent,” said Thompson, who has won 11 times on the LPGA Tour, including the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship. “I had one bad hole and a few iffy shots. But it’s golf, so it was kind of expected.”
Lanto Griffin, who won the 2019 Houston Open for one of his five pro victories, holed a 24-foot shot from the fairway for an eagle at No. 15 in a 64 and is tied for fourth with Davis Thompson, who collected seven birdies in a bogey-free 64.
Luke List, who won the Sanderson Farms Championship in a playoff last Sunday, made the last of his six birdies with a seven-foot putt on the last hole in a bogey-free 65 and is tied for sixth with Nick Taylor of Canada, who made a nine-foot eagle putt at No. 13 and a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 18 in his 65, and Matti Schmid of Germany who sank a four-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole to cap his 65.
J.J. Spaun of Los Angeles and San Diego State made a seven-foot eagle putt at No. 16 and closed his 66 with a two-foot birdie putt at No. 9 to tie for ninth with Adam Long, who made four of his eight birdies in a row through No. 17 in another 66.
Defending champion Tom Kim of South Korea had five birdies in a 68 and is tied for 21st.
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