April 14th, 2014

Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas friendly rivals

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Paul Najjar

Senior Writer

Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas friendly rivals
Jordan Spieth nearly became the youngest person to ever win the Masters / photo from the Golf Channel

During the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship, a baby-faced 16 year old local captivated the crowd with his smooth swing and low scores in the four day event.

Jordan Spieth was playing in high school tournaments one day, professional tournaments the next in his hometown of Dallas, Tex. He was tied for seventh place after three rounds of the HP Byron Nelson tournament, eventually finishing in a tie for 16th place.

A 2011 graduate of Jesuit College Preparatory school, he attended elementary school at St. Monica Catholic and is golfing pals with none other than Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

Heady stuff for a youngster. Even more so was his tied for second finish at The Masters that concluded yesterday.

I spoke with his mother, Chris, after that HP Byron Nelson Championship. Talked with her for 15 minutes and though the interview was lost, I came away from it as if I was talking to any normal high school student-athlete’s mother.

They emphasized teamwork when he played basketball, baseball, football and soccer into junior high. And now that he’s a professional golfer making significant money on the PGA Tour and through endorsements, he’s created the Jordan Spieth Charitable Trust. This trust serves as a platform to lend time, awareness and financial assistance to three areas: special needs youth, military families, and junior golf.

Chris was a college student athlete at Moravian, where she played basketball, and her husband Shawn played baseball at Lehigh. His younger brother Steven is a freshman at Brown University. The 6-foot-6 forward started every game for the Bears’ basketball team averaging 8.2 points and 5.5 rebounds, and averaged 32.2 minutes per game.

As for Jordan’s accomplishments at such an early age, Chris talked about keeping everything as normal as possible for this year’s Masters runner-up. And she talked about him being a role model for his younger siblings Steven and Ellie, who is a special needs student.

Spieth and St. Xavier graduate Justin Thomas faced each other in several regional and national amateur tournaments throughout their high school careers. Spieth was a member of the 2011 Walker Cup team and Thomas competed in the 2013 Walker Cup.

Good friends, Thomas tweeted this message following Spieth’s terrific week at the Masters.

“Very proud of my guys Jordan Spieth and Michael Greller on a great showing at Augusta. I’m ready to get out there and join y’all.”

It may not be long before we see these guys competing for golf titles and championships for years to come. Thomas is currently ranked 5th on the money list of the Web.Com Tour, has registered three top 10 finishes including a second place effort in the Mexico Open this past weekend. Thomas has earned $141,577 so far this season. If he finishes the season ranked in the top 25 he will receive a 2015 PGA Tour exemption.



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