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Tiger tracks: Spieth a step away from sharing record with Woods

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BREMERTON, Wash. – Jordan Spieth beat Chelso Barrett in the first round of the U.S. Junior Amateur Championships last year. This time, they’ll meet in the finals.

Spieth, who won the event in 2009, beat Adam Ball of Richmond, Va., 7 and 5 to advance in the semifinals on Friday. The Dallas resident made five straight birdies on holes 2 through 6, and his eighth birdie on hole No. 13 ended the match.

Spieth moved one win away from joining Tiger Woods as the only multiple winners of the event. Woods won this tournament three straight years, 1991-93.

“That’s definitely been in my head,” said Spieth, who is the fourth champion to reach another final. “It was in my head last year going into the event.”

After beating Barrett a year ago at the Egypt Valley Country Club in Ada, Mich., Speith lost in the second round.

Barrett, of Keene, N.H., beat Colombia’s Nicolas Echavarria in 19 holes in their semifinal match.

Barrett made a dramatic birdie from off the fringe at No. 18, hitting the ball with the toe of his putter, to keep the match tied. He then won with a par on the extra hole after Echavarria pushed his drive far right and into trouble.

Barrett said he’s a different player this year.

“I’m just going out there and play the course and not play the competitor,” he said.

The 36-hole championship match will be played Saturday.

Earlier in the day, Spieth beat Andrew Whalen of Ephrata, Wash., 2 and 1 in the quarterfinals, and Ball ousted U.S. Open qualifer Beau Hossler of Mission Viejo, Calif., 2 and 1. Barrett got past No. 2 seed Will Starke of Chapin, S.C., 1 up, and the 16-year-old Echavarria beat Ryan Benton of Dothan, Ala., 2 and 1.