IRVING, Texas – Jordan Spieth has birdied his first two holes in Saturday’s third round and is now tied for third at 5 under, three shots off the lead held by Sergio Garcia and Ryan Palmer.
Spieth rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt at the par-4 first hole. He then hit his tee shot at the par-3 second to inside three feet for an easy birdie.
Should the 17-year-old amateur win, he would become the youngest player in at least 111 years to win a PGA TOUR event. He would also be the first amateur to win on TOUR since Phil Mickelson won the 1991 Northern Telecom Open.
IRVING, Texas – Local teenage amateur Jordan Spieth is a popular figure this week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, just like last year when he made the cut as a 16-year-old.
Now a year older, Spieth is looking for bigger things this year. “I want to win,” he said after finishing his first 36 holes just five shots off the lead. He just teed off in Saturday’s third round.
A very rough and unofficial estimate of his gallery size? About 2,000 people.
Here’s a look at the crowd at the opening hole as Spieth prepared for his approach shot.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Normally when a teenage amateur makes the cut at a PGA TOUR event, it's big news. But for Jordan Spieth, it's old news this week.
For the second consecutive year, Spieth will play on the weekend at the HP Byron Nelson Championship. When he did it last year at age 16 years, 9 months, 24 days, he became the sixth-youngest player to make the cut at a TOUR event.
This year, the only news he wants to make must wait until Sunday. If he can somehow produce a win, he would become the youngest winner in at least 111 years and possibly the youngest winner since Tom Morris Jr. won the 1868 British Open at age 17 years, 5 months, 8 days.
Spieth, now five months older than Morris was back then, isn't ruling out the possibility. After shooting his second consecutive sub-par round -- a 2-under 68 to go with Thursday's 69 -- Spieth will go into the weekend at 3 under, in a tie for eighth with a large group, just five strokes behind co-leaders Ryan Palmer and Sergio Garcia.
"I want to win," Spieth said. "I don't care what everyone else says. ... I'm confident, staying loose and seeing my friends in the crowd. Feeding off the crowd helps me."
|IF SPIETH SHOULD WIN|
These are the tournaments Jordan Spieth would get invites
to should he win this week:
The Memorial Tournament
Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Bob Hope Classic
Arnold Palmer Invitational
THE PLAYERS Championship
Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
Spieth is scheduled to play for the University of Texas in the fall. But should he win, he would have 60 days after the time he turns 18 to accept TOUR membership. And as a tournament winner, he would retain his TOUR card through at least 2013.
Also, a win would get him invites to such tournaments as THE PLAYERS Championship, the Masters, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the various invitationals.
Even if he retained his amateur status, he could play up to 12 TOUR events as a non-member.
"To be on this stage as a senior in high school, at 17, it’s impressive,” Palmer said. “I'm starting to wonder if he's thinking about four years of college or just one.”
Of course, as a Texas A&M graduate, Palmer might rather see Spieth on TOUR than playing for rival Texas.
For Spieth, though, the focus is on the next two days. While he can't match the experience of his fellow competitors, he does think he has one big advantage.
"It's kind of overlooked, but these guys are playing week in, week out, so this another event (for them)," said Spieth, who at one point late Friday morning was tied for third. "For me, I spent the whole entire last month preparing for this, getting out here and preparing my game for this golf course.
"That's a huge advantage to my side."
Palmer said the kid has another advantage.
“All he’s having to do is have fun,” he said. “He has nothing to lose. He needs to go out there and let it go.”
One other difference between Spieth and the rest of the field – nobody else has his high school graduation ceremony to attend.
Although Spieth wasn't sure what his tee time will be for Saturday's third round, he will likely have to miss at least a portion of his graduation ceremony at Jesuit College Preparatory School, which starts Saturday at 4 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET).
"I'm definitely going to shoot over there as fast as possible," he said.
Considering that his huge gallery will include many of his friends from high school, maybe he'll just hitch a ride with one of them.
Jordan Spieth is continuing to prove that last year was no fluke.
At 3 under through his first 12 holes in the second round, Spieth, the 17-year-old Dallas amateur, is now 4 under for the tournament and in a tie for fourth at the moment.
Last year, he tied for 16th as a 16-year-old and was even on the fringe of contention Sunday before fading.
Friday, he has four birdies and just one bogey through 12 holes after starting his round on the back nine.
Three of those birdies came from close range with Spieth sticking his approach shots inside 10 feet. The other came from just off the par-4 12th green, where he holed out from just over 26 feet.
So once again it looks like Spieth will be in contention going into the weekend at TPC Four Seasons.
IRVING, Texas – Joe Ogilvie has birdied three consecutive holes and is now 7 under for the tournament, just one shot off the lead held by Ryan Palmer.
Palmer did lead by five shots at one point before Ogilvie heated up. Palmer also has suffered his first bogey at the day, at the par-4 15th. He’s now 3 under on his round and 8 under overall.
Ogilvie shot a 66 on Thursday and had a rollercoaster opening nine Friday. He’s 3 under for his round through 13 holes.
Ryuji Imada has had a productive morning. With one hole left in his round, Imada is 4 under for the day and 5 under overall. He’s on pace to shoot his lowest score on TOUR since January.
Teenage amateur Jordan Spieth continues to stay above the cut line. He’s 2 under through his first 10 holes and 3 under for the tournament. With half the field still yet to tee off in the second round, the projected cut line is 1 over.
A year ago, Jordan Spieth turned a lot of head with his tie for 16th at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Thursday he proved that wasn’t a fluke. A year after opening his hometown tournament with a 68, the 17-year-old shot a 1-under 69 to once again put himself in good position.
Spieth hit just eight fairways and 10 greens in the opening round, but he still managed a half-dozen birdies -- offset by three bogeys and a double bogey -- in a wild round in front of plenty of friends and family.
Spieth said he didn’t get much sleep Wednesday night, having attended the Mavericks’ Western Conference-clinching win. “I was so happy for the Mavericks that I couldn’t get to sleep,” he said.
Then he had an anxious day waiting for his late tee times. By the time he teed off, he was shaking.
“I thought I would be ready and I thought it would be a little easier,” he said, “but in fact, it wasn’t and I lost a couple of shots just based off nerves that I think I can get back the next couple of days.”
Asked if he would sleep better tonight, Spieth said, “Definitely, considering I’m about to pass out right here and fall asleep.”
Jordan Spieth, the Dallas teenager who made the cut and finished T16 a year ago, is playing well again this year. Check out this birdie on the seventh hole . Can he play his way into contention again?
IRVING, Texas – Jordan Spieth, the Dallas-area high schooler who made such a big splash at the HP Byron Nelson Championship last year as a 16-year-old, has now started his first round Thursday afternoon.
Last year, Spieth became the sixth-youngest player to make a TOUR cut, and eventually finished tied for 16th after finding himself in contention on the back nine on Sunday.
For more on Spieth’s outlook going into this week’s tournament, click here .
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- A year ago as a 16-year-old high school junior, he captured the fancy of the entire golf world by making the cut at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, then challenging for the lead late on Sunday and eventually finishing tied for 16th -- all the while trying to find time between rounds to study for final exams.
This week, Jordan Spieth goes into his second start at the HP Byron Nelson as a bigger, stronger and better golfer. He's done with his classes, so he's been able to put in more practice time for the tournament.
But he does have one conflict that no one else in this week's field must face -- his graduation ceremony from Jesuit College Preparatory School is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. local time. As much as he'd like to be with his friends, Spieth would rather be on the TPC Four Seasons Resort course with the leaders after making the cut the previous day.
"Hopefully, I'm playing in the afternoon on Saturday," Spieth said. "It's pretty interesting -- I don't think many have had that dilemma before. But it will be fun."
It was certainly fun last year when the amateur Spieth emerged as one of the year's top stories in golf, shooting 68-69 in the first two rounds to become the sixth youngest player to ever make the cut at a PGA TOUR event. His galleries were huge, the locals flocking to see whether the kid could continue to hold his own against the pros.
After shooting 69 in the third round, Spieth found himself tied for seventh going into the final 18 holes. He remained in contention until the 15th hole, when he suffered a double bogey. It was quite a thrill ride, one that those who attended last year's event will never forget.
"Last year was unbelievable," Spieth said. "It didn't sink in until afterwards. But you know, it should be bigger crowds to start this year, I've been told."
Part of Spieth's appeal last year was his impressive composure and poise as he dealt with the growing galleries and increased media demands each day. Another part of his appeal was his insistence that he wasn't just a novelty act, but someone who had serious aspirations to win -- and then showed us why.
Should he find himself again making a run this week, it wouldn't be any less impressive even if the story isn't as new. After all, he's still about three months away from his 18th birthday -- and just a few weeks removed from winning a state high school title. He doesn't begin his college career at the University of Texas until this fall.
Don't be surprised if he does make more noise this week. He probably knows the course as well as anyone. His short game remains his strength. And he's 20 pounds heavier, giving him a stable base and consistency in his swing.
Plus, he can draw upon last year's appearance in this event, as well as his start three weeks later at last year's FedEx St. Jude Classic when he again nearly made the cut, just missing by a stroke.
"I think experience is really going to help me settle in a little earlier and not have to fight the nerves or the adrenaline and kind of be able to be relaxed out there," he said.
If Spieth is indeed relaxed this week and performs like he did last year, well, perhaps someone can tape Jesuit's graduation ceremony for him. Unless, of course, the rest of his senior class is also at the course, cheering him on.
HOW WILL SPIETH DO THIS WEEK?
Fill out the form below and give us your prediction on how Dallas teenager Jordan Spieth will perform this week in his second start at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
We’re deep into the second round of the St. Jude Classic presented by Smith & Nephew and the cut line has moved to 1 over. That’s good news for Ben Crane, who is right on that number. He’s not completely safe yet, though. There’s a lot of golf left and Crane is through 14 holes – and he’s 4 over through those.
John Daly might also be around for the weekend if the number holds at 1 over. Daly is already in at 1 over after a tricky double bogey on No. 9, where he hit into a hazard only to play the wrong ball and be assessed a two-stroke penalty under a rule that went into effect in 2008.
Ian Poulter, on the other hand, is already on his way back to Orlando. Asked how Poulter played, his caddie, who he borrowed from Tim Clark while his regular caddie recovers from a bad back, replied, “Not good.” Poulter shot his second straight 72 and finished at 4 over.
Meanwhile, 16-year-old amateur Jordan Spieth has some work to do if he’s going to make his second cut. He’s 4 over for the week and 1 over through nine holes today. -- Brian Wacker