Golf: Local golfers

Highland Park golfer gets Nelson exemption

July, 31, 2013
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Does the HP Byron Nelson Championship have another Jordan Spieth on its hands?

U.S. Junior Amateur champion Scottie Scheffler, a 17-year-old senior at Highland Park High School, has accepted a sponsor's exemption into the 2014 Nelson.

Like Spieth, a winner on the PGA Tour a few weeks ago and a two-time U.S. Junior Amateur champion who first played in the Nelson at age 16, Scheffler will get the chance to play in the event as a teenager. He also won the Class 4A state title for a second straight year in May and led Highland Park to a team title.

“Mr. Nelson always encouraged us to keep an eye out for young talent and reward them with opportunities like this,” Patton Chapman, chairman of the 2014 Nelson, said in a release. “Scheffler definitely fits this mold, and we’re looking forward to watching him compete at the highest level.”

Scheffler is No. 1 in the Polo Golf Rankings and has verbally committed to play at the University of Texas after he graduates (something else he has in common with Spieth).

The 2014 HP Byron Nelson Championship will be played May 12-18 at TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.

Notebook: Spieth overcomes penalty

May, 24, 2013
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FORT WORTH, Texas -- The golf maturation of Jordan Spieth continues. The 19-year-old from Dallas made two bogeys on Friday and followed them up with birdies in shooting a 3-under 67.

He’s at 8 under, two shots off the lead in his first crack at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Spieth incurred a 1-stroke penalty on his sixth hole on Friday that might have ruffled even a seasoned Tour player.

His approach to the 406-yard par 4 landed only 20 feet from the pin but stopped precariously between spike marks.

Said Spieth: “It stayed where it was, so I just went to hit my putt. I took my practice strokes and saw it maybe kind of start to tilt. But it stopped again. So I put my putter down and the ball kind of fell down into the cleat mark. And my putter did not cause it to move. I know that for a fact it was going to move. If I had hit the putt two seconds earlier, it wouldn’t have done that. If I waited two seconds longer, I wouldn’t have grounded my putter."

A rules official was called over and the result was a 1-stroke penalty.
[+] EnlargeJordan Spieth
Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Getty ImagesA strong Round 2 had 19-year-old Dallas native Jordan Spieth two shots back at the end of play Friday.

“I was more upset than I normally get," Spieth admitted.

But he followed the disappointment with a birdie at No. 7.

“That was the most important hole I’ve played all week. I wouldn’t say I get any more aggressive after a bogey. If anything, I probably play safer."

Spieth pierced the seventh fairway with a 3-wood and dropped a 9-iron a foot away for a kick-in birdie. He’s the leader in greens hit in regulation so far.

“I feel like off the tee I’m as solid as I’ve been and my irons are in distance control straight, and that’s what you need on these small greens," said Spieth.


Weather delays: Play was suspended twice because of the weather on Friday. There was a two-hour delay early in the afternoon and a final stoppage at 6:38 p.m.

Tournament leader Matt Kuchar (10 under) and 53 others have not finished their second round. Play is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. on Saturday.

Fairways for Furyk: After hitting only four fairways in Thursday’s first round, Jim Furyk straightened out some things on the driving range before leaving the course, setting the stage for a 4-under 66 on Friday when he hit 12 of 14 fairways.

Furyk, 5 under for 36 holes, has four top-five finishes at Colonial but has never won here.

“It’s one of my favorites on Tour," Furyk said. “It’s changed over the years. It’s a lot greener now. They irrigate it a lot more. The scores are a touch lower, but it’s still a great golf course. You have to work the ball, and it’s tough to get the ball in the fairways. It’s not overly long, but it’s still got a little teeth to it."

Record setter: Josh Teater is 10 under on the back nine at Colonial after two rounds, the best since 1983. Overall, he’s 8 under, in a three-way tie for third.

“I’ve played the back nine great so far," Teater said. “I haven’t hit any trees or had any three-putts."

He couldn’t say the same about the front nine on Friday. Teater’s tee shots on No. 3 and No. 6 struck trees. He bogeyed both.

“If you don’t hit the fairway, you are going to have a fairway bunker or some trees to deal with," said Teater, who reached a tournament-best 11 under at one point. “I made bad swings with the driver and put me in a bad spot."

Horseshoed: Graham DeLaet wasn’t aware that the difficult Nos. 3, 4 and 5 at Colonial are known as the “Horrible Horseshoe." But after bogeying all three in his second round, the 31-year-old Canadian understands the nickname.

“It definitely got me today," DeLaet said.

Despite Horseshoe trouble, DeLaet shot 67, good enough for second place at 9 under when play was suspended.

Comeback story: Steve Flesch is transitioning from playing golf to talking about it on television.

But the 2004 Crowne Plaza champion showed on Friday he hasn’t forgotten his way around Colonial, equaling the day’s low round, a 64. He’s part of a four-way tie for fourth at 8 under.

Flesch was 0-for-12 in cuts last year while playing hurt.

“After a year like that, and missing the cut last week, you just never know," he said. “I know I have it in me. But until you actually do it and prove it to yourself, it is a tough hurdle.

“Believe me, today was a big day for me. If I would have come out and shot a couple over par and missed another cut, it would have been a tough rest of 2013."

Notes: The low score of 64 on Friday was shared by Chez Reavie, Justin Hicks, David Lingmerth and Flesch. … Friday withdraws: Patrick Cantlay (8 over) and D.H. Lee (12 over). … Boo Weekley reached 10 under before coming unhinged with a double-bogey on No. 5, his 14th hole, and two more bogeys on Nos. 7 and 8. He holed a 39-foot putt for par on his final hole. Among the area players in danger of missing the cut are Chad Campbell, Rory Sabbatini, Justin Leonard, Tag Ridings and Colt Knost.

Texas' Jordan Spieth turning pro

December, 14, 2012
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University of Texas sophomore golfer Jordan Spieth turned professional Friday, ending his amateur career.

The 19-year-old Dallas native was the Big 12 player of the year and freshman of the year last season, helping Texas win the 2012 NCAA championship.

Spieth won U.S. Junior Amateur titles in 2009 and '11. Tiger Woods is the only other golfer with more than one U.S. Junior Amateur title.

"The decision to turn pro was a difficult one, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of competing at the highest level and accomplishing the many goals I've set for myself on and off the course," Spieth said in a news release sent out by the school Friday. "I owe everything I've achieved thus far to the support of my family, friends, teammates, and The University of Texas. While I'm proud of what my teammates and I have accomplished, I couldn't be more excited to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a professional golfer."

Spieth made national news as a 16-year-old high school student in Dallas when he was in contention midway through the final round of the PGA Tour's Byron Nelson Championship in 2010 before slipping a bit on the back nine and finishing tied for 16th.

Read the whole story here.

Jordan Spieth makes U.S. Open move

June, 16, 2012
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SAN FRANCISCO -- For most of the week, Andy Zhang and Beau Hossler have been the main attractions in the pool of amateur players at the U.S. Open. Hossler continues to stay around the leaderboard, but Zhang is done after rounds of 79-78.

Besides Hossler, two other amateurs made the cut: Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay. On Saturday, Spieth had a 1-under-par 69 to take his three-day total to 7-over par. It was his first round in the 60s in a major.

"Looking back, I felt like I played really well today," Spieth said. "I hit most of the fairways and most of the greens and my putter felt good. I only missed one or two shots, so that's just what a U.S. Open does."

Regardless of how Spieth plays in the final round, he's already secured something more valuable. By making the cut here at Olympic, he is exempt into the second stage of Q-school in the fall, where he will try to earn his PGA Tour card as an amateur.

"Watching the scores yesterday, that was the main thing on my mind, not necessarily playing on the weekend," said the Dallas native who just finished his freshman year at Texas.

If Spieth stays another couple of years, Hossler will join him on the Longhorn golf team in the Fall of 2013.

On Sunday, Spieth will be in a battle with his future teammate as well as Cantlay for low amateur. It will be an exciting second act.

Farrell Evans covers golf for ESPN and can be contacted at evans.espn@gmail.com.


SAN FRANCISCO -- After playing his first 10 holes in even par, amateur Jordan Spieth got stung by what many here at the Olympic Club are calling the most difficult six-hole stretch to start a golf course.

The University of Texas freshman and former Dallas Jesuit phenom bogeyed four of the first five holes on the front nine to shoot a 4-over 74.

Spieth, who is making his first major championship appearance, only got into the U.S. Open after PGA Tour pro Brandt Snedeker withdrew with a rib injury.

Starting on No. 9 due to the routing that has players going off the first and ninth tees, the 18-year-old Spieth parred his first two holes. A bogey at No. 11 dropped him to 1 over, but he got that shot back with a birdie at the short par-3 15th hole.

He gave another one back with a bogey at the monstrously long par-5 16th hole that measures 670 yards but again rebounded with birdie at the shorter par-5 17th hole.

Kevin Maguire is the senior golf editor for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Kevin.Maguire@espn.com.

Jordan Spieth holding own at U.S. Open

June, 14, 2012
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Jordan Spieth only got into the U.S. Open after PGA Tour pro Brandt Snedeker withdrew with a rib injury. The Texas freshman and former Dallas Jesuit phenom is so far making the most of his first major championship appearance.

Starting on No. 9 at Olympic Club due to the routing that has players going off the first and ninth tees, Spieth parred his first two holes. A bogey at No. 11 dropped him to 1 over, but he got that shot back with a birdie at the short par-3 15th hole.

He gave another one back with a bogey at the monstrously long par-5 16th hole that measures 670 yards but again rebounded with birdie at the shorter par-5 17th hole.

The 18-year-old made the turn at even par with the most difficult stretch of holes -- Nos. 1-6 -- still ahead.

Kevin Maguire is the senior golf editor for ESPN.com. He can be reached at Kevin.Maguire@espn.com.

Kelly Kraft makes cut with putt on final hole

April, 6, 2012
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Kelly Kraft knew the situation.

As he walked up to the 18th green at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday afternoon, he looked at the giant scoreboard and saw that the leaders were at 5-under par.

“That meant 5-over was going to make the cut,” Kraft said. “I needed to make that putt to play the weekend.”

It was an 8-foot, downhill left-to-right putt for bogey that would put Kraft right on the number to keep playing Saturday and Sunday.

“It was a do-or-die situation,” said Kraft, last year’s U.S. Amateur Champion and former SMU golfer. “It was a fast putt. If I missed it, my Masters was over. If I make it, I play the weekend. I hit it a little firm and it went in. Everybody knew what was going on. That putt went in and the whole place went crazy. It was cool.”

Kraft was the final player to get into the clubhouse on the cut number, so he will be first off Saturday morning. And since an odd number of golfers made the cut, Kraft is paired with a marker. The good news for Kraft: He’s already played a round at Augusta National with the marker, Jeff Knox.

“It will be fun to play with him,” Kraft said. “He’s a good guy. We’ll have a good time. We’ll get the best greens on the course. They’ll be perfect.

“It will be nice to go out and free-wheel it and let it all out. I’ve got nothing to lose. I’ve got two rounds left as an amateur and I’m going to try to go out with bang.”

For Kraft, it’s already been an unforgettable Masters.

“It was good for me to be under the gun like that and make the cut,” Kraft said. “I think that’s going to help me in the future, making that putt. I’ll always remember that.”

Jordan Spieth holding his own at Riviera

February, 17, 2012
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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Before his second round on Friday at the Northern Trust Open, Jordan Spieth was hitting his driver on the range at the Riviera Country Club. With his father, Shawn, and his caddie, Ryan Murphy, one of his coaches at Texas, looking on, the 18-year-old college freshman tried to hit fades. Murphy, whose brother Sean played on the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour, told Spieth to try to keep his posture throughout the swing. Spieth looks like a pro. You can’t tell that he’s a teenager until you see him close up.

But in his first round on Thursday, Spieth struggled with a 5-over 76 that included two double-bogeys.

“I didn’t feel like I played that bad, but then I look up at the scoreboard and I’m at 5-over par, which doesn’t make me very happy no matter what the tournament or the course,” Spieth said before his Friday afternoon tee time. “I feel like I should be doing better.”

But as much as this tournament is another chance for Spieth to prove himself against the best players in the world, it’s also an opportunity for he and Murphy to study Riviera, which will be the site of the men’s NCAA Championships in late May. Spieth’s Texas teammates will play in an event in Puerto Rico this weekend without him.

“I think the course might be even set up more difficult for the NCAAs. But I think I’m definitely going to have an advantage having seen the course in tournament conditions and having Coach Murphy caddying for me,” Spieth said. “It’s definitely going to be an advantage for my team and myself.”

Growing up in Dallas, Spieth is very unfamiliar with Riviera’s poa annua greens.

“This is all new to me,” the Jesuit College Prep graduate said. “But I’ve been able to practice on them for the last few days and slowly I’m getting the hang of it.”

But Spieth, who was at 4-over through 16 holes before play was suspended Friday, shouldn’t feel bad. As the week goes on, these greens will get more bumpy and difficult with every round for all the players.

Spieth is not the only college player at Riviera this week. His good friend, Patrick Cantlay, who is a sophomore at UCLA, had a 7-over-par 78 on Thursday. The two teenagers could meet here again in May. Their respective college teams are two of the top programs in the country. Yet their days as amateurs might be short-lived, especially since both have already had success on the PGA Tour as amateurs. There is increasing pressure for teenagers to turn pro, especially when there are so many good professional players now in their early 20s.

Both Spieth and his father concede that it’s hard to get to a world-class level when you’re not playing full-time. Yet they want to make sure the time is right to take that next step.

“My goal is to be out here. But I’ll go when I’m ready mentally. I feel like my game is ready,” Spieth said. “I don’t know as a teenager that I’m ready to be out in the real world. But we’ll see. I think that it will just kind of hit me. But I’m in no rush. I’m loving every minute of school.”

Trevino to Tiger Woods: Go back to Harmon

February, 14, 2012
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Hall of Fame golfer Lee Trevino has some advice for Tiger Woods: Become a student of Butch Harmon again.

"I would call a realtor in Henderson, Nevada, and I'd find out where Butch lived and I'd buy the house next door," said Trevino, appearing on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Galloway & Company on Monday afternoon. "I'd go over and ring the doorbell and say, 'Hi, neighbor,' and get back with Butch. That's exactly what I would do."

Harmon is currently Phil Mickelson's teacher and a former instructor for Woods. Harmon worked with Woods from 1996, when he won his third U.S. Amateur Championship, until August 2002. Woods won eight majors and played some of his most dominating golf under Harmon's watchful eye, including his 15-stroke victory at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2000.

At Pebble Beach on Sunday, Woods started the day in contention, but shot 75 thanks in large part to woeful putting, while Mickelson shot 64 to win his 40th career PGA Tour event.

Trevino, who won six majors on the PGA Tour in his career, said he believes both Woods and Harmon should "bury the hatchet" and work with each other. Woods has worked with teacher Hank Haney after his departure with Harmon and is now with Sean Foley.

"I'm sure there's bad blood there, at least that's what I've heard," Trevino said. "I haven't talked to Butch in years, so I don't know how he feels with Tiger and I don't know if Tiger is too proud to ask for the help and if he asked for help if Butch would give it to him. But I think they speak to each other when they see each other at tournaments. If they do that, I don't see why two grown people can't sit down. He's all messed up right now."

To read more, click here.

Dan Jenkins to be in World Golf Hall of Fame

December, 14, 2011
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Legendary sports writer and Fort Worth native Dan Jenkins will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012.

Jenkins will go in with Phil Mickelson and Hollis Stacy on May 7, 2012, in a ceremony held in conjunction with The Players Championship.

“Dan has been a vital part of the game for more than 60 years,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a release Wednesday. “His unique brand of storytelling in newspapers, books, Sports Illustrated and Golf Digest helped introduce golf to millions of fans. His contributions to sports journalism, especially golf, make him worthy of this honor.”

Jenkins covered golf for Sports Illustrated, including numerous stories in the 1950s on Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, two golfing giants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He wrote all about Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in the 1960s and 1970s and is still writes a regular column for Golf Digest.

Jenkins still lives in Fort Worth and is a regular at TCU sporting events. He graduated from TCU in 1953 and worked for the Fort Worth Press and the Dallas Times Herald before joining Sports Illustrated in 1963. He covered more than 200 major championships, including more than 60 Masters, and has won numerous golf writing awards.

“As I told somebody -- being from Fort Worth, I would follow Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson anywhere,” Jenkins said on a conference call Wednesday. “Since they're in there, I'm happy to be the third guy from Fort Worth so included.

“What can I say? It sounds like I retired, but I haven't. I'm going to stay at it as long as they'll have me or until I'm carried out. I'll be carried out with the typewriter.”

Ricketts wins NTPGA section championship

September, 13, 2011
9/13/11
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Brian Ricketts, PGA head golf professional at The Honors Golf Club in Dallas, won the NTPGA section championship on Tuesday at Lantana Golf Club. It's the first NTPGA individual major championship for Ricketts, who beat runner-up Dean Larsson by six shots in the final round to get the win.

Larsson had closed the gap to three shots, but made a triple bogey on No. 16. Ricketts had one bogey and three birdies in his final round.

Ricketts, a 26-year-old who played golf at SMU, won $7,300, the largest winner's check during the 2011 NTPGA major championship season. He also gets an exemption into the 2012 PGA Tour HP Byron Nelson Championship.

“I look forward to continuing the legacy of representing the NTPGA at the event," Ricketts said in a release about the invite to the Nelson. "It is going to be a lot of fun and an honor to follow in the footsteps of all the great players who have played in the Byron Nelson.”

Cameron McCormick, PGA director of instruction at Brook Hollow Golf Club, finished third.

Local Aussies giving back to community

August, 31, 2011
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Mark Harrison and eight other North Texas area Australian golf professionals managed to get in 126 holes of golf from dawn until past dusk on Monday in the 8th annual Birdies For Kids fundraiser.

The event raises money for local charities and the nine local golfers look at it as a way to give back to the area.

“We’re all not from here, but feel very, very fortunate to have an opportunity to work and live in this community and felt as a group we could do something to connect and give back,” said Harrison, executive director of the Northern Texas PGA. “That’s essentially how it started. It was that simple. It’s far exceeded our expectations.”

The golfers made 217 birdies and five eagles at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas, collecting just a shade more than $144,000. That means in the eight years, they’ve now generated more than $1 million for local charities.

“If you told me eight years ago we’d raise more than a million dollars, I’d say there was no chance,” Harrison said.

The Aussies who participated were:

Rohan Allwood (an assistant professional at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas)
Justin Barrick (an assistant professional at The Honors Golf Club of Dallas)
Simon Buckle (head professional at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas)
Stuart Deane (a teaching professional at Texas Star in Euless)
Nick Griffin (head professional at Shady Valley Golf Club in Arlington)
Jeremy Langdale ( assistant professional at Green Tree Country Club in Midland)
Dean Larsson (an assistant professional at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas)
Cameron McCormick (director of instruction at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas)
Mark Harrison (Executive Director of the Northern Texas PGA)

A Dallas area semifinal at U.S. Amateur?

August, 26, 2011
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The quarterfinals are going on right now at the U.S. Amateur Championship and depending on how things go, we could have two Dallas area golfers facing off in the semifinals on Satuday morning.

Dallas' Jordan Spieth advanced to the quarterfinal with a 7 & 5 win this morning and is currently playing Jack Senior from England in the quarterfinals. Denton's Kelly Kraft, who played golf at SMU and went to Denton Ryan, needed 23 holes to get past Blake Biddle from Illinois. Kraft just began his quarterfinal against Patrick Rodgers of Indiana.

If Spieth and Kraft win, they will play each other at 8:15 a.m. tomorrow at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. We'll update you when both players have completed their quarterfinal matches.

Spieth onto round of 16 at U.S. Amateur

August, 25, 2011
8/25/11
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Dallas' Jordan Spieth continues to make noise at the U.S. Amateur Championship. He won both of his matches today, including an afternoon affair against Wake Forest senior Lee Bedford.

Spieth won 2 & 1, the same score that he posted in his first match play victory earlier on Thursday. He now heads into the round of 16 to face Ben Geyer from Arbuckle, California at 8:40 a.m. tomorrow. Geyer is a junior at St. Mary's. Here's what he told the St. Mary's website about playing the 18-year-old Spieth, who won the U.S. Junior Amateur earlier this summer and is ranked No. 1 in the AJGA Polo Golf Rankings.

"As far as tomorrow goes, I am pretty pumped," said Geyer. "I'm sure people are thinking this is a real 'David vs. Goliath' matchup and aren't really giving me much of a chance. But, that's great because I would love to prove them all wrong. It is going to be a great battle and I'm planning to go out there and have a lot of fun."

Dallas' Spieth heads to match play 2nd round

August, 25, 2011
8/25/11
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Dallas' Jordan Spieth continues to advance in the U.S. Amateur Championship, defeating Jade Scott of Daingerfield, Texas, 2 & 1, on Thursday.

That victory moves him into the round of 32, where he'll face Lee Bedford of Cary, N.C., at 1:30 p.m. today. Bedford won his first round match easily, beating Will Collins, also from N.C., 6 & 5. Bedford will be a senior at Wake Forest this year.

Spieth, 18, will be a freshman at the University of Texas this year. He finished tied for 32nd in the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

The Golf Channel has coverage today and Friday from noon to 2 p.m. Dallas time, so you might catch a little bit of Spieth today.

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