There are many reasons to miss your high school graduation -- frustration with authority, weariness from celebrating the end of your high school career, low tolerance for speeches that try to inspire you with hackneyed rock lyrics -- but of all those and more, Jordan Spieth may have come up with one of the best.
Spieth, who was scheduled to graduate from Dallas Jesuit Prep on Saturday afternoon, was out playing golf ... on the PGA Tour.
Amid names both familiar and unknown atop the HP Byron Nelson Championship leaderboard, none is more surprising or more crowd-pleasing than Spieth, the 17-year-old who's getting some pretty solid on-the-job training by hanging with the likes of Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar.
A local kid with deep knowledge of both the course and the unpredictable weather in the area, Spieth is repeating, and potentially improving on, his performance at the Byron Nelson last year, in which he finished tied for 16th after coming within four strokes on the lead on that tournament's final day.
This time around, the elements provided a challenge more fearsome than any assistant principal. Spieth conceded that Saturday afternoon was an "extremely hard" day at the office for him, even if he's just interning at the moment.
"I told my caddy every single hole make sure you're telling me to stay patient on every shot," he said after the round. "I just needed to be reassured, just trying to settle down and make loose swings and think through each shot. The wind is so hard to sit there and think through where you're going to hit it and still make the best swing."
He had a few good swings, and a few that didn't go quite how he'd like; after leading off with two birdies, he wandered through a kaleidoscope of scores, carding three bogeys, three birdies and three double-bogeys. Even finishing the round at +2, he still sits just four strokes back of leader Ryan Palmer, who's at -5 after posting a +3 round of his own. Winds were brutal, blowing at 25 mph and gusting to 40 mph, and only eight players out of the entire field carded under-par rounds.
The winds are expected to play a role in Sunday's round, too, meaning that anyone at the top of the leaderboard with the presence of mind to stay low and stay centered has a decent shot of running away with this tournament. And any high schooler who passes up his graduation to go to work has to be in that category.