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April 18 2012

7:55 PM

Spieth has high expectations this week

Interview: Jordan Spieth

University of Texas star Jordan Spieth prepares for his fifth PGA TOUR start this week at TPC San Antonio.

It certainly won't be like playing - and contending -- in his hometown of Dallas at the HP Byron Nelson Championship the last two years. But Jordan Spieth should still have a comfort zone this week as he plays in the Valero Texas Open for the first time.

After all, he's in the Longhorn State and the Texas freshman is only 90 minutes from Austin where he now lives. "It will feel like I'm at home, which will be good," Spieth said.

Spieth has adapted well to college life, too. The 18-year-old has helped the Longhorns win seven tournaments this year. Spieth schedules all his classes in the morning so he has the entire afternoon to practice and the No. 1 collegian in the country is seeing the benefits in his game.

"Really, just all around, just everything kind of been a little more consistent," Spieth said. "I've hit balls and putts and chips. Everything is just really more refined. I wouldn't say one area in specific is really just grown. More of everything, kind of the tightening up to how it needs to be."

Spieth is playing in his fifth career PGA TOUR event this week, and his second of the season. He tied for 16th and 32nd in Dallas but has missed the cut in the other two, most recently earlier this year at the Northern Trust Open. His goals are set on a PGA TOUR card, so these opportunities are invaluable.

"In all these TOUR events not only am I just measuring my own game against them but I'm trying to learn stuff from them," Spieth said. "They're all out here, PGA TOUR members for a reason. I'm trying to be where they are.  Obviously, I'm a lot younger than they are but, you know, I'm learning from them and I'm also able to compare my game and ... I've been in contention before, couple years at the Byron and couple times where I've struggled.
   
"So those were humbling experiences. So now I learn from those and I feel like I can compete with these guys, I really do, and that's not a reason for me staying amateur, whatnot. I mean there's tons of factors. But, you know, I'm confident in how I can match up against them."

Spieth feels TPC San Antonio suits his game, too. He came down and played a practice round a couple of weeks ago and feels the premium on hitting fairways plays to one of his strengths.

"I don't really know how other people feel but I expect myself to play well coming from playing a lot of really difficult courses already this year in the college ... and also playing the Northern Trust,” Spieth said.

"I have high expectations for myself this week and I know ... you're going to make bogeys out here and it's all about patience, but I feel like having played a few tournaments before, PGA (TOUR) events leading up to this, it's going to be a big help in how I settle in to start and kind of take control of my game in this tournament."

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