IRVING, Texas - When 17-year-old Jordan Spieth tees off on the first hole on Saturday afternoon, he'll do so knowing there's a good chance his afternoon tee time at the HP Byron Nelson Championship could keep him from missing a memorable moment in his life: his high school graduation.
While his peers at Dallas' Jesuit College Prep School walk across the stage at 4 p.m. to pick up their diplomas, Spieth will be walking down the back nine of the TPC Four Seasons course, after he posted a 2-under 68 on Friday to stay within shouting distance of the leaders.
If Spieth does indeed miss his graduation, he hopes it's because he's answering media questions after another solid round. The way he's been playing over the last couple of days, there's a good chance he could find himself back in the media center on Saturday afternoon, before having to make a mad scramble to Southern Methodist University for the graduation ceremony.
Riding a hot putter, Spieth needed only 23 putts to get around the TPC Four Seasons course on Friday, and is currently averaging only 1.5 putts per hole, third best in the field this week.
"The putter has never felt better," Spieth said. "My caddy and I have been hitting the reads all day. My 8- to 10-foot birdies felt so comfortable, just like we had the right reads."
After last year's incredible T-16 finish, including a flurry of birdies in the final round that got him to within three of the leaders, many wondered what Spieth would do for an encore at the tournament. After two rounds, the encore certainly looks as good, if not better than his 2010 showing.
Armed with confidence, local course knowledge, and the advantage of playing in front of a hometown crowd, Spieth looks like a kid who's out there having fun, knowing that while he won't take home a paycheck this week, he has an opportunity to do the unthinkable and take down an entire field of guys that play the game for a living.
"I want to win," Spieth said of his expectations for the weekend. "I don't care what everyone else says, I look at the leaderboard and see 8-under, Ryan Palmer posted a ridiculous round again today, but I think I can catch [the leaders]."
Normally those words would sound absurd coming from a 17-year-old, but when five of your six competitive rounds at the HP Byron Nelson Championship have been in the 60's, maybe the thought of seeing Spieth going head-to-head with the pros on Sunday doesn't seem so crazy after all.
He's done it once before, and with another round in the 60's on Saturday, he very well could do it again.
- HP Byron Nelson Championship