CHICAGO — Beau Hossler went from staying alive to staying in control in seven short holes Saturday.
Standing on the 11th green during the championship match of the 112th Western Amateur at The Beverly Country Club, Hossler needed to make a 15-foot birdie putt to stay 3 down against Xander Schauffele. He rolled it in, then won six of the next seven holes en route to a 2-up victory.
Hossler came to the par-5 18th with an improbable 1-up lead, executing three perfect shots to give himself a 4-foot birdie putt as Schauffele struggled in the left rough and eventually conceded.
“At that point, I was trying to just not lose 6 & 5,” Hossler said of his mindset on the 11th hole. “I had to go out there and get [the win]. Maybe my score was not all that low, but the golf course was playing pretty difficult.”
Hossler and Schauffele — friends and California residents — won semifinal matches Saturday morning to set up a rematch of the California State Amateur final won by Schauffele June 21. The Western Amateur final had the look of a repeat early, with Schauffele going 3 up through seven holes as Hossler made three bogeys.
But Hossler won holes 12 and 13 with pars and squared the match for the first time in 12 holes with a birdie on 14. He won 17 when Schauffele failed to get up and down from just over the green, and never came close to faltering on the final hole.
It was the end of a grueling week that started Tuesday and included 72 holes of stroke play, four rounds of match play and three consecutive days of 36 holes.
“I’ve never done that before,” said Hossler, a Texas sophomore-to-be. “Sure as hell never walked 36 three days in a row.”
Schauffele had to survive a tough morning match with Illinois senior-to-be Brian Campbell to reach the final. The two went into the 16th hole all square, but Schauffele made birdie to beat a Campbell par and matched Campbell with a par at 17 and another birdie on 18.
After getting up early in the final, Schauffele admitted to feeling some fatigue.
“Fatigue and exhaustion definitely kicked in,” he said. “No excuses, but I definitely fell asleep at some point and woke up on 15 fortunately and tried to make it interesting.”
Hossler had to dispatch Northbrook resident Nick Hardy, who along with Campbell was trying to become the first Illinois player ever to win a Western Amateur, Saturday morning. He took a 4 up lead after six holes and Hardy — the first player from the Chicago area to advance to match play since Hinsdale’s Rob Grube in 2007 — never got closer than 3 down in losing 4 & 3.
“He is a good player, and he was the better player today,” said Hardy, who will be a freshman at Illinois. “I believed I could [get this far], and I am pretty pleased with how I played.”