SAN FRANCISCO -- The kid didn't win the U.S. Open. Neither did Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or Rory McIlroy or Bubba Watson or, for that matter, a long list of accomplished PGA veterans who are old enough to be his father.
But young Beau Hossler made a name for himself. Beau Hossler. I know, I know. It sounds like a movie star from another era. Beau Bridges. Bo Hopkins. Bo Derek. Nonetheless, what this particular Beau accomplished with thousands monitoring his every birdie, his every bogey, his every approach shot, and even that double bogey on the 18th hole, was dramatic in its own right.
Hossler shouldn't feel too bad about that double bogey, either. He finished tied for 29th, and since misery at the Olympic Club virtually assures plenty of company, he can slouch on a crowded couch.
Jim Furyk imploded late. Graeme McDowell missed a putt on 18 that would have forced a playoff against eventual winner Webb Simpson. Woods, the sentimental favorite who was tied for the lead after two rounds, slumped over his final 36 holes and never challenged for what would have been his first major tournament championship in four years.
With parity the theme of the day, the delightful Hossler thrust his way into the conversation. He morphed from being a virtual unknown to a curiosity factor to a contender -- briefly, but a contender nonetheless -- in a whirlwind 72 hours.
"I'm really proud of him," said Beau Hossler Sr., savoring his unexpected Father's Day gift. "I'd be proud of him regardless of his score. You can't pay for this experience, right? These guys are the best in the world. It's a lot of heat. It would be a lot of heat especially for someone who has only been in two majors."
For the most part, his son, the amateur, played the famously cranky course like a pro. The teenager -- Beau is all of 17 -- played to packed galleries. And though he shot 76 Sunday, he was cheered and serenaded at every hole, and in the end, escorted off the course with a rousing standing ovation.
"To hear them chanting my name, that's pretty awesome," said Hossler, one of three amateurs in the field.
The last time he was this nervous, he admitted, was when he took his driving test for a third time. Like most Southern California residents who spend hours on the freeways, Hossler, who will enroll at Texas in the spring, appreciates the need for a nice set of wheels.
But he doesn't really fit the Southern California stereotype. He is relatively inexperienced with Twitter. He has the complexion of someone who doesn't surf or spend time in the sun. He doesn't look like much of an athlete or someone with an affinity for weight rooms and workout routines. At about 6-foot-1, he has narrow, round, sloping shoulders and wide hips.
That could change. He's still a kid. Yet throughout this weekend, Hossler proved that he belongs on a golf course. And that he loves to compete. On Saturday, in particular, he responded to bogeys with birdies and played himself back into contention on the final nine holes. He was tied for eighth as play began on a chilly, misty Sunday afternoon. Twice, his tee shots landed in the rough. Twice, he recovered with birdie putts, first from 25 feet and then from six. But he landed in the bunker on the third hole, and struggled with most of his drives the rest of the afternoon.
"I was trying to hit fades off the tee," he said, "and somehow I was getting stuck under it. That's really what cost me today."
Not that his score mattered much at that point, except to him. The spectators rose and cheered as he walked toward his ball as it rested in the right bunker on 18, and applauded again when he hit his wedge shot too low, the ball bouncing back into the dirt. The idea was to gamble and go for it, to take a whack at overtaking Jordan Spieth for the best amateur score.
Next time, perhaps.