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Spieth Makes Second Straight Cut in Byron Nelson


Dallas teenager Jordan Spieth will once again be playing on the weekend in the HP Byron Nelson Championship. The 17-year-old high school senior followed up his opening 1-under 69 with a 68 Friday at TPC Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.

The Jesuit Prep student - who'll be playing for the Texas Longhorns next year - proved that last year's performance in the $6.5 million event wasn't a fluke. After becoming the sixth-youngest player in PGA Tour history to make the weekend cut, the then 16-year-old was tied for third entering Sunday and finished in a tie for 16th in 2010.

Spieth stands at 3-under 137, five strokes behind co-leaders Ryan Palmer and Sergio Garcia.

If it comes together for Spieth over the weekend, he could become the youngest player since "Young" Tom Morris Jr. won the 1868 British Open at age 17 years, five months, eight days. Spieth is now five months older than Morris, the son of "Old" Tom Morris.

Spieth certainly has his sights set high. "I want to win," he 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."

On Friday, Spieth carded five birdies and three bogeys for his 68. Through 36 holes he's posted 11 birdies. He only needed 23 putts in his second round, and 25 on Thursday.

Should he win, Spieth's college plans could become complicated. A victory this week would allow him 60 days after the time he turns 18 to accept Tour membership, granting him a much-coveted card that would be good through at least 2013. In addition, he would gain entry into such prestigious tournaments as the Players Championship, the Masters and Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Although Spieth isn't sure when he'll be teeing off Saturday in the third round, he's hoping to attend at least part of his graduation ceremony; the festivities start at 4 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET). "I'm definitely going to shoot over there as fast as possible," he said.

Here's what else the precocious Spieth had to tell reporters following his exemplary effort on Friday.

MODERATOR: Welcome Jordan Spieth into the interview room. 2-under round today, 3-under for the tournament. You might miss your graduation tomorrow as a result of this, but talk about your round. I know you didn't finish the way you wanted but talk about that.

JORDAN SPIETH: Yeah, it started out better, I didn't have the nerves off the first tee like I did yesterday. Just wanted to have a great time today, crowds started getting bigger and bigger as the day went on. Swing felt better, drove the ball better, putting stroke still feels great. Definitely a lot windier today, played more difficult. Happy with the way it went, and I know that I'm probably, what, 5 shots back so I got some work to do in the next couple of days.

MODERATOR: Any reason you think you were calmer today?

JORDAN SPIETH: Well, to start out, there just wasn't as many people on the first tee this morning, no one wanted to get up, so I think that helped. I don't know, maybe just having already gone through one round. I've been waiting for this tournament for the last month, been preparing for it so definitely some nerves to start and now that I'm kinda into it, I think I'll be good.

Q. You're making a lot of putts from distance. Especially saves. How much has that helped you over the last two days?

JORDAN SPIETH: Putter has never felt better in my hands. My caddy and I have been hitin' the reads right all day. My 8 to 10-putt birdies felt so comfortable, just felt like we had the right reads, trusted, and they were pouring in the middle. One big putt today, one big turning point was 15, I made an 8-footer for bogey. And if I had doubled I would have given back both the birdies I'd already made on that nine, so that was a big putt just to keep the momentum going. Honestly I think I might have had 23, 24 putts today. Ball striking was almost there, it's getting there. I think a couple more days it will come out and shine. The putting stroke is -- I don't want to change anything right now.

MODERATOR: Talk about the hole that led to that 8-footer for bogey.

JORDAN SPIETH: I drove it down the middle and had a tough shot, ball by my feet, 225 yards, 230, kinda into the wind, left to right. Tried to play a fade, get it to chase back -- I mean it's just a really hard hole. You're not going to see a lot of birdies there today. Unfortunately put it on the right side, which I was trying not to do. The thickest rough on the course. So I tried to get all cute with the third shot, left it short, then got cute the next shot, too, so got in a little trouble there, made it -- hit a few too many chip shots on that hole. Made the putt and went on and started to get it going on the front nine.

Q. You'll be playing golf into the afternoon tomorrow so what are your plans to try to get to part of graduation?

JORDAN SPIETH: Right after the round, depending on what y'all want, depending upon how the day goes, hopefully it goes well enough that I'll be in here again, but I'm going to shoot over there as quickly as possible. I don't know how long it usually lasts, I know there are people in here that have kids that went through Jesuit graduation. We'll see what happens. I'm definitely going to shoot over there as fast as possible.

Q. How many kids in your graduating class? Being last I guess you will be a little later?

JORDAN SPIETH: Exactly, (laughter) should be at least an hour into it. Be toward the end. A little over a thousand. A little over thousand, all boys. I'm sorry, I was thinking in the school, yeah, 260 or so.

Q. Jordan, you were talking about the big crowds out there. Do you expect to see facing the crowd from your one-time playing partner George Bush this weekend? And can you talk about what that was like playing with him? Did you try to hold back? What was that like? It had to be an outer body experience?

JORDAN SPIETH: If I remember right, he came up to my dad and I right when we got out there and told us what game we were going to play and said, "We were playing for $100,000" or something, obviously not true. I followed the NCAA rules there, don't worry. (Laughter.) But, no, there was no reason to hold back, because he came out calling me names that I shouldn't mention. My dad was freakin' out, I know that. He was a lot more nervous than I was. It's so easy to have fun with him out there. I don't feel like he can come out here. I don't know where he would sit, or walk, but that would be pretty cool. But, yeah, when we played with him last summer -- hopefully we can do it again. He takes from my instructor, that's how I got to him. Hopefully we'll get to go out there again, but it was fun. Didn't feel like you were playing with anyone extremely important like he is, which is cool.

Q. Jordan, from an experienced standpoint of playing here last year talk about where you are after two rounds this year as to where you were last year, mentally?

JORDAN SPIETH: Definitely a lot more confident knowing that -- I'm in fifth place now; I think I was further down last year. Obviously that can change, there is the whole afternoon wave but whatever the wind -- if the wind keeps on gusting, it looks like it will stay around there. I'm definitely a lot more confident because I feel like if I can get out there and post 2, 3-under just a good round again tomorrow. If it gets windy, if I can play a little better than today, get a couple more breaks, then I think I can legit have a good run, being in the last couple of groups. I don't know what that kind of pressure is going to feel like but that's what I'm shootin' for. Definitely a lot more confident this year just because I'm closer to the top.

Q. You talked about the conditions and the wind but talk about the course itself. It's played differently now that it's dried out. Has it gotten easier, the greens gotten tighter as the weather has gotten better here in north Texas?

JORDAN SPIETH: Actually I think it played quite a bit harder today. Yesterday the wind was out of the north, today it was a completely different course, out of the south blowing a lot harder, which changes every single hole out here. Number three yesterday, I would have had to hit 3-wood, and today I hit a pitching wedge. Just a completely different course. But the course is in awesome shape, the greens are getting tighter, definitely getting firmer for the afternoon. They firmed up quite a bit as the day went on. I remember someone telling me, "They're startin' to firm up right now on certain shots I hit." So it should be playing difficult this afternoon. I feel like I got a fortunate draw which is nice. There is nothing you can do about it, just got lucky.

Q. Jordan, everybody else has the advantage on you in terms of experience, but how much do you think you have the advantage on them in terms of knowing this course?

JORDAN SPIETH: Some of them have played it more than I have. I think -- I play it every winter some of my friends come back in town from college that play out here, so I get to see it well in advance. It's kinda overlooked, but these guys are playing week in week out, so this is another event. 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. Whereas these guys are traveling, you know, sometimes four, five weeks at a time just trying to -- you know, they get worn out. Maybe not playing their best golf here, and I prepare just to play my best golf for this event. I think that's the only advantage. For the course, given the time of year, I play it when it's completely different, normally. But I've gotten out here a couple times last week, played with my instructor and caddy and friends out here. That definitely doesn't hurt while all the rest of the pros are playing at Colonial or the Players.

Q. How many rounds would you say you've played here since last year?

JORDAN SPIETH: Three or four. Played it a couple times in the winter and a couple times last week before the practice rounds.

Q. You talked about not being as nervous today as yesterday or even last year. Are expectations for you personally higher this year? We all have expectations of you but what about you personal and does that put more pressure on you?

JORDAN SPIETH: I want to win. I don't care what everyone else says, I look at the leaderboard and I see 8-under, Ryan Palmer posted a ridiculous round again today. I'm confident, staying loose and seeing my friends in the crowd and feedin' off the crowd helps me. I got a feeling there is going to be a lot of people there tomorrow, looking forward to it.

MODERATOR: Thank you Jordan.

JORDAN SPIETH: You got it.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.