For Jordan Spieth, it seems like no status, no problem.
Just three months after turning pro, the former University of Texas star was tied for the lead coming down the stretch Sunday at the Puerto Rico Open before bogeying the 16th hole and finishing one shot behind eventual winner Scott Brown.
There was a two-shot swing on the par-5 finishing hole at Trump International, as leader Fabian Gomez made bogey-6 and Brown birdied the last to win by one.
Playing on a sponsor exemption, Spieth, 19, was trying to become the youngest PGA Tour winner in the modern era. The two-time U.S. Junior champion shot all four rounds in the 60s (69-66-67-67) to finish at 19-under 269. The T-2 finish earned him an automatic spot in next week’s field at the Tampa Bay Championship, which is significant because non-members such as Spieth are limited to seven sponsor exemptions per season on the PGA Tour.
This was Spieth’s third PGA Tour start of the season, after missing the cut at Torrey Pines and tying for 22nd at Pebble Beach. He also finished in the top 10 in two starts on the Web.com circuit, virtually locking up a spot in the season-ending Web.com Tour Finals, which replace Q-School as the direct route to the PGA Tour. (Nos. 126-200 on the FedEx Cup points list and Nos. 1-75 on the Web.com money list qualify for the Finals.)
Credit is due to Puerto Rico tournament chairman Sidney Wolf, who in recent years has extended invitations to a talented crop of young players. This year was no different, what with exemptions being doled out to 20-year-old Patrick Cantlay, a winner a week ago on the Web.com Tour, as well as Si Woo Kim, the 17-year-old who earned his card at Q-School but cannot use that status until he turns 18 in June.
Former U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein also received a sponsor exemption, and a week after posting his best-ever finish on the European Tour, the 23-year-old shot a final-round 67 to finish T-6 and earn a berth in next week’s event in Tampa. Blayne Barber tied for 24th.