Beau Hossler, 17, is sticking around in the U.S. Open

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SAN FRANCISCO — Beau Hossler walked off the 18th green and got a hug from his mother Saturday.

Amateur Beau Hossler smiles as he walks up the 18th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open.  ERIC RISBERG/ASSOCIATED PRESS
ERIC RISBERG/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Amateur Beau Hossler smiles as he walks up the 18th hole during the third round of the U.S. Open.

It was celebratory in nature as the 17-year-old amateur remains in contention at the U.S. Open.

Hossler fired even-par 70 on Saturday at The Olympic Club and is at 3-over for the tournament. He is only four shots out of the lead.

Earlier in the week he talked about his desire to win low amateur honors this week. Now he will try to be the first amateur to win the U.S. Open since 1933.

“Absolutely,” Hossler said when asked if he could win. “There’s not a doubt in my mind. Got to go out there and do everything right mentally and physically, but it’s definitely out there for me.”

Also at stake is a berth in the 2013 Masters Tournament, which will take the low eight and ties from the U.S. Open.

The junior player is already familiar with the Augusta area. He played in this year’s Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, and he finished tied for 10th with rounds of 71, 75 and 71.

Hossler made four bogeys in his round Saturday, but each time he responded with a birdie on the next hole.

“I feel pretty good,” he said. “I’m always a little bit nervous starting out the round, but feel like I kind of backed into the comfort level.”

FAMILIAR FACE: Lee Westwood, the world’s third-ranked golfer who is still seeking his first major championship after numerous near-misses, is right there again.

The 39-year-old Englishman, who has seven top-three finishes in majors, shot 3-under-par 67 to tie for the day’s low round on Saturday.

He is at 2-over 212, or three shots off the lead shared by Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Making holes-in-one seems to be the norm for John Peterson’s family.

The former Louisiana State star made a hole-in-one at the par-3 13th Saturday. He used 7-iron on the 180-yard hole, and it helped him shoot 72. He is tied for eighth at 3-over for the tournament.

That it came while paired with mentor David Toms made it even more special.

“I saw it go in and I lost it,” Peterson said. “D.T. lost it too. I think we’re pulling for each other, so we both were really excited, it was awesome that it went in.”

More incredible is the story of his mother making a hole-in-one on her honeymoon.

“She hit one shot in her life and it went in,” Peterson said. “And she quit. Smart girl.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Phil Mickelson celebrated his birthday Saturday and the gallery around the 18th hole serenaded him with Happy Birthday.

Fred Couples was near the clubhouse when he overheard the singing and asked how old Mickelson turned. He was told 42.

“He’s just a young pup,” Couples quipped.

Mickelson shot 1-over 71 on Saturday and is 8-over for the tournament.

CASPER BOOK: Billy Casper was autographing copies of his new book, The Big Three and Me, Saturday at the merchandise tent.

Casper won the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic in an 18-hole playoff against Arnold Palmer. Despite winning more than 50 times on the PGA Tour and capturing three majors, including the 1970 Masters, Casper was often overlooked.

That’s because he played in the era of Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, which spawned the title of his book.

WITHIN REACH: Lee Westwood, the world’s third-ranked golfer who is still seeking his first major championship after numerous near-misses, is right there again.

The 39-year-old Englishman, who has seven top-three finishes in majors, shot 3-under-par 67 to tie for the day’s low round on Saturday.

He is at 2-over 212, or three shots off the lead shared by Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk.

Westwood, who has 35 professional titles, overcame two bogeys to finish with five birdies.

His last birdie came when he trickled a putt from about 15 feet into the hole on the 18th hole to bring the crowd roaring to its feet.

“I think every time you get yourself in contention you learn something new,” Westwood said. “I’ve been in contention a lot in different kinds of positions, leading, coming from behind. And in this tournament and other tournaments, like the Masters, I finished third, so I was in contention there.

“I pick little bits out of all of those, but the main thing is just to go out there and believe that I’m good enough.”

NO PUTTER NEEDED: John Peterson aced the 180-yard 13th hole on Saturday at just the right time. He was 4-over for the day after 12 holes. Thanks to the ace, he ended up shooting 72 and in title contention.

Peterson, the former NCAA champion from Louisiana State University, opened with rounds of 71-70. He is at 3-over 213, or four shots off the lead.

TOUGH DAY: Tiger Woods is known for closing the deal in the final round of the major championships he’s won, mainly because he has set himself up for the win in the third round.

In his 14 major wins, his scoring average in the third round is 68.3 and he has never had a round over par.

Starting Saturday tied for the lead at The Olympic Club, Woods had 75.

Of his major championship victories, Woods has never won after being behind after three rounds.

That doesn’t bode well for Woods, who is five shots off the lead going into today’s final round.

In Woods’ major wins, he had the lowest score of the third round five times (despite being among the last to tee off in the afternoon), and he has not had a round over par.

BIRTHDAY WISHES: Phil Mickelson, who turned 42 on Saturday, was serenaded with a chorus of Happy Birthday after his 71.

The timing might have come as some consolation for Mickelson, who had just missed a 7-foot par putt on the closing hole.

“It’s a long, difficult day, even though it’s my birthday,” Mickelson said. “And it was very flattering of the fans, thank you.”

Mickelson, who has never won the U.S. Open but has five runner-up finishes, is at 8-over 208 through 54 holes.


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