The Arnold Palmer Invitational historically produces a high-quality field, and this year is no exception with personalities such as Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland having committed to the event.
McIlroy is the sole leader after the first round, stringing together a powering 65 despite bogeying his second hole of the day.
A swarm of excellent players are only a few strokes back, including Billy Horschel (67), Will Zalatoris (68) and countryman Graeme McDowell (68).
There’s one player, however, who is currently occupying the T2 position alongside both Horschel and John Michael Spaun, and that’s 26-year-old Beau Hossler.
Hossler is from California and he was a bright prospect from a young age, having qualified for his second successive U.S. Open at the age of 17, thanks to a T29 finish at the 2012 edition.
He was so impressive, that he even held the outright lead during the second round and when he made the cut, he became the youngest to do so since the 1945 U.S. Open.
Although he would momentarily set the pace, he missed out on low amateur honors, which went into the direction of Jordan Spieth.
After graduating high school, he attended the University of Texas on a golf scholarship and he would eventually win six times during his tenure – including five further titles throughout his junior career.
In 2016, he was issued the Fred Haskins Award, which celebrates the greatest collegiate golfer of the year, so there was potential from a very early age.
In 2016, despite having one year of eligibility remaining with the University of Texas, he turned professional and made his pro debut at the TaylorMade Pebble Beach Invitational, finishing T8 in the November.
He would only have to wait another month before securing his maiden professional victory, winning a 36-hole event on the Adams Pro Tour – the Cypresswood Open – in only his third start as a professional.
The following season is where Hossler started to gain recognition as a promising golfer, after making 14 starts on the Korn Ferry Tour that resulted in two runner-up finishes and 11 cuts made.
He concluded that season 23rd on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season money list, which granted him his PGA Tour card for the following campaign.
Hossler also made several PGA Tour starts that season, progressing to the weekend on four occasions.
The following campaign was undoubtedly his greatest as a PGA Tour member, finishing in the top 10 at five events and making 24 out of a possible 28 cuts.
He finished the term ranked 46th in the FedEx Cup standings and almost secured his first PGA Tour title, but narrowly lost out to Ian Poulter during a playoff at the Houston Open.
The following year wasn’t as explosive from the American, although he did finish T15 at the Genesis Open – which was his best result of the term.
During 2020, which saw the tour briefly postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there wasn’t much success for the now 26-year-old, who only posted one top 10: T9 at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Another top 10 finish would take place in 2021, although again, this was his sole appearance within the top 10 for the season.
If we cast our minds back a mere month or so, you may remember that Hossler had a share of the 54-hole lead at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, although he would succumb to the pressure and finish solo third.
That marked his greatest finish since the aforementioned playoff loss to Poulter, although that result means he is now 0-for-3 converting the third round lead into victory on the PGA Tour.
Hossler muscled his way onto the scene during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, but he had to endure a quiet period over the next three years.
After a positive display at Pebble Beach, he looks to have found some form after another fantastic outing at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
It may only be the first round, but to only be two strokes back from McIlroy – who retaliated wonderfully after his early bogie – shows just how impressive the young man played.
The secret to scoring well during the Arnold Palmer Invitational is to take care of the par 5s, and Hossler played them at three-under on Thursday.
If he can continue to exhibit the same confidence and rhythm as his opening round, we may hear more of Hossler’s name over the weekend.