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Spieth brimming with confidence as SHO favorite

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HUMBLE, Texas – Jordan Spieth doesn’t have much experience with a target on his back in the professional ranks, but he’s wearing it just fine this week at the Shell Houston Open.

At No. 4 in the world, Spieth is the highest-ranked player in the field and enters off a pair of big results. He won a dramatic playoff over Patrick Reed and Sean O’Hair last month at Innisbrook, then followed with a runner-up finish last week at the Valero Texas Open.

Asked to evaluate his current play, the 21-year-old cracked a smile and offered a thinly-veiled reference to Reed’s notorious comments from a year ago.

“I feel like I’ve been playing like a top-five player in the world,” Spieth said.

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Unlike Reed, Spieth now has the OWGR credentials to back it up, and his confidence level is at an all-time high. While he missed the cut in Houston last year in his final pre-Masters start, he has returned with the hopes of sharpening his game leading into the season’s first major.

“I’m trying to trim the fat this week,” he said. “Trying to find the little straighter ball flight to take into Augusta versus working it quite a bit both ways, then especially nail down my short game.”

In just his second season as a fully-fledged Tour member, Spieth doesn’t have a large dossier on most venues, but he knows this week’s layout well after playing it as a junior and during his time at the University of Texas.

“I’m familiar with this place. I’ve played it about as much as I’ve played anywhere on Tour,” he said. “No excuses for not knowing my way around this track.”