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Making the cut

IRVING, Texas -- There was no wild celebration on the 18th hole Friday afternoon when 17-year-old Scottie Scheffler tapped in for par to make the cut at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

His dad smiled. His friends went crazy. But there was no triumphant fist pump from Scheffler, a senior at Highland Park High School in Dallas.

Making the weekend in his very first PGA Tour event is quite the achievement. He shot 68 on Friday to finish at 1-under par through 36 holes, seven strokes behind leader Brendon Todd.

But making the cut didn't stun Scheffler. No, he's not talking about hoisting any trophy, at least not yet.

Scheffler's goal remains what it was when the event began: finish in the top 10.

"I think that would be a nice debut out here," Scheffler said.

It sure would.

But it's worth noting that when Jordan Spieth, then 16, made the cut at the Nelson in 2010, his first PGA Tour event, he was also seven strokes back. A 67 on Saturday vaulted him into contention and made him the talk of that tournament.

Perhaps Scheffler can follow a similar script.

He'll tee it up for 36 more holes because of how well he's handled adversity so far. Canvas the large gallery following him on Friday -- "I think a lot of my friends didn't want to go to school," he quipped -- and they'll tell you the best shot he hit was a nearly 34-foot birdie putt on No. 17, an amphitheater of sorts where the decibel level can climb quickly.

"You know when you just have a feeling a putt is going to go in?" said Scheffler's sister, Callie, 19, who is also his caddie. "I just knew on that one." Scheffler said he had the same feeling once he saw it was a flat putt.

When the putt sank, there was a roar that even caught Scheffler's father by surprise.

"I was talking to a PGA Tour official and didn't see the putt," said Scott Scheffler, who routinely walks ahead to the next hole and doesn't see his son putt. "But I knew something good had happened."

The birdie gave him a nice cushion toward securing his invitation for the weekend and ended a streak of two straight bogeys. But that wasn't the shot that Scheffler or his coach, Randy Smith, thought was his most important of the day.

That happened on his first hole, as a nervous Scheffler pulled his tee shot left of the fairway and under some ice cream and drink carts.

"Are you hungry or thirsty already?" Smith told his pupil as he arrived at the ball. "You just started."

Scheffler tried to hit a cut around a tree and cut the ball too much, sending it right of the green. On the next shot he had an awkward stance, but a good lie, and he flopped the ball close to the hole, setting himself up to save par.

"That got us off to a good start," Callie said.

Scheffler birdied four of his first seven holes and sprinted up the leaderboard, climbing as high as a tie for 11th.

He couldn't sustain the momentum and took bogeys at Nos. 9 and 10. But as was the case in the first round, Scheffler bounced back with a key birdie when he needed it, this time at No. 11.

On Thursday, the culprit was a lost ball on his fifth hole of the round, at No. 14. With five holes to play, he was 4-over par. But he responded with a string of three straight birdies and finished with a 1-over 71 -- a result that put him in position to make the cut on Friday.

After chatting with the media following the second round, Scheffler went to the driving range. He was one of only two golfers there at the time and he took advantage of the opportunity, rehearsing drives for specific holes with Smith and relaxing while he was at it.

"He's treating this like every other tournament," Callie said. "It's his routine."

It has become routine for Scheffler to be in the hunt in nearly every tournament he plays, too. He won the USGA Junior Amateur Championship and lost in the quarterfinals of the US Amateur last summer. And he's won a handful of events this year already, most recently his third consecutive Class 4A state high school golf title.

So why should the PGA Tour be any different?