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Graduating teen Spieth makes Nelson cut again

IRVING, Texas (AP)—Jordan Spieth is going to be late for his high schoolgraduation ceremony Saturday, if he makes it at all. The teenager has anotherround of golf with PGA Tour players at the Byron Nelson Championship.

For the second year in a row, the local Dallas amateur made the cut at theNelson.

After a 2-under 68 in the second round Friday, Spieth was 3 under. That puthim in a tie for eighth place, five strokes behind co-leaders Sergio Garcia andRyan Palmer .

The ceremony for Spieth and the other 245 seniors in Dallas’ Jesuit Prep’sgraduating class starts at 4 p.m. Saturday, at an auditorium on the SMU campusabout 20 miles from TPC Four Seasons. Spieth tees off at 11:21 a.m.

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“Right after the round …. I’m going to shoot over there is quickly aspossible,” Spieth said. “I don’t know how long (graduation) usually lasts.”

Because diplomas are handed out in alphabetical order, the 17-year-oldSpieth (pronounced SPEE-th) figures that will at least buy him some extra time.

“Exactly,” he said, smiling. “Should be at least an hour into it, betoward the end.”

After tying for 16th at the Nelson last year, and still within three strokesof the lead after 10 holes in the final round, Spieth received a sponsor’sexemption to play in the tournament again this week.

“I want to win,” Spieth said. “I’m confident. Staying loose and seeing myfriends in the crowd and feeding off the crowd helps me.”

Spieth, a U.S. Junior Amateur champion who plans to attend the University ofTexas, had one of the larger galleries following him during the second roundFriday.

“To be on this stage as a senior in high school, at 17, it’s impressive,”Palmer said. “I’m starting to wonder if he’s thinking about four years ofcollege or just one year.”

Since his breakthrough in last year’s Nelson, Spieth had played the TPC FourSeasons course three or four more times. He also got to play another round withformer President George W. Bush, who lives in Dallas and has worked withSpieth’s instructor.

“If I remember right, he came up to my dad and I right when we got outthere and told us what game we were going to play,” Spieth said. “There was noreason to hold back, because he came out calling me names that I shouldn’tmention.

“It was easy to have fun with him out there,” Spieth added. “Hopefully,we’ll get to go out there again. It was fun. Didn’t feel like you were playingwith anyone extremely important like he is, which is cool.”

Spieth had an opening 1-under 69 at this week’s Nelson that included adouble bogey and three bogeys. On those same four holes Friday, he had birdieson each of them. That included a 26-foot birdie putt at the 441-yard 12th holeafter a double bogey there Thursday.

He was 5 under before two bogeys in his final five holes Friday, when windswere starting to gust to around 30 mph.

While the pros might have the edge on experience, Spieth has been able toput his entire focus on getting ready for this week.

“For me, I spent the whole entire last month preparing for this, gettingout here and preparing my game for this golf course. That’s a huge advantage,”Spieth said. “Whereas these guys are traveling, you know, sometimes four, fiveweeks at a time, they get worn out, maybe not playing their best golf here. AndI prepare just to play my best golf for this event.”