RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links

The Loop

Spieth, 16, continues improbable Nelson run

May 22, 2010

IRVING, Texas -- Jordan Spieth is inherently polite, so one might understand his dilemma on Saturday, when he was paired with a man old enough to be his father. Should he call him Mr. Pernice or Tom?

"I went back and forth," said Spieth, who at 16 is the sixth youngest ever to make the cut on the PGA Tour. "I had no idea what I should call him, because he has a daughter that's my age and I don't call my friends' parents by their first name. I ended up just (avoiding) it altogether. I was like, 'good shot,' and I wouldn't say anything after that. It was like playing a round with your dad. A little more talented golfer than my dad."

It apparently was a more pressing concern than how to cope with PGA Tour pressure in the vicinity of the lead on the weekend. Spieth continued to dazzle on Saturday, shooting a three-under par 67 that puts him in a tie for seventh, five shots off the lead heading into the final round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Winning is probably out of the question, but his answer did not exclude it. "I was looking at the top of the leaderboard from the minute I teed off (on Thursday)," he said. "That's the way I wanted to approach it. Tomorrow I know the pins are going to be the toughest pins I've ever experienced in my life, but if I'm confident, I'm going to start firing because I've got nothing to lose, nothing to hold back. I might as well try and make a run.

"I think I can make a run. Starting the week, you all gave me odds like, 1,000 to one or a million to one. No one expected me to make the cut and I guess I have an outside chance. If I get the right conditions out there, the wind starts to pick up and I start dropping bombs from all over the place, it could happen."

Poise is not a weak suit. A Dallas native who is making front-page news here, Spieth was the marquee attraction here on Saturday, a huge crowding following him and Pernice. He responded by holing a bunker shot for birdie at the first hole.

"I told him when we walked off the tee," Pernice said, "I said, 'I have two daughters, 15 and 16, so you know the perspective. You're the youngest and I'm the oldest.' We got a chuckle right off the bat. He's a wonderful young guy. He has a lot of talent he's a great kid and he's fired up the whole Dallas Metro area. I think it's wonderful."

-- John Strege