Byron Would Be Proud

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    HP Byron Nelson

    Golf fans of all ages, the Byron Nelson Championship has something for you this weekend. Kids, check out 16-year-old Jordan Spieth. He played hooky from his junior year of high school to make his PGA Tour debut, becoming the first prep to take on the pros here since Tiger Woods in 1993.

    Woods didn't make the cut then, but Spieth cleared it with ease Friday, becoming the sixth-youngest player to do so at a Tour event.
    For folks who've been following the sport since long before Spieth was born, the guy to watch is 47-year-old Steve Elkington.

    He got into the field as an alternate on Sunday, when someone else dropped out, then shot a 66 to become part of a seven-way tie for the lead. He followed with another 66, putting him two shots behind the lead. Weekend warriors will love Blake Adams, a 34-year-old rookie who spent the last three years on the Nationwide Tour and whose career story is a funny, sad tale about perseverance.

    He, too, was part of that cluster at the top after the first round, then piled up six birdies on his way to a 64 and a 10-under 130 and a share of the second-round lead. Finally, in a tournament lacking really big names, there are the guys hoping it's their turn in the spotlight, like Cameron Beckman and Jason Day.

    Beckman won a Tour event for the first time a few months ago, but it was against a weak field and he's struggled ever since. He teed it up Friday right around the cut line, only to walk off the course around lunchtime with the lead. Beckman finished his delayed opening round with a pair of birdies that turned a 1-over into a 1-under 69, then shot a 61, tying the TPC Four Seasons course record and setting a personal best.

    He's tied for first with Adams; Day is a stroke behind. Spieth is tied for 22nd at 3-under 137. "I feel like I played better than my score showed today," said Spieth, who already has accepted a sponsor's invitation to play the PGA event in Memphis, June 10-13. "When something like that happens, and you're still somewhat in it, you kind of realize that if putts start to drop, you can make a run at it.
    "I don't want to think of myself as the amateur out here. I want to think of myself as a contender."

    The kid opened the day needing to finish seven holes from his suspended opening round, which was at even par. He made a pair of birdies to finish at 68, took about a half-hour break, then shot 69 in the second round. He had three birdies and two bogeys.
    He followed his second bogey by jerking an approach into a bunker he was trying to avoid. He chipped close enough to make birdie. On No. 18, he thrilled a gallery filled with screaming teenagers by landing a shot 12 feet from the cup.

    "He's just playing the way he's capable of playing," said Tony Romo, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback who befriended Spieth months ago and joined his gallery for the final three holes.