Jordan Spieth in HP Byron Nelson
Jordan Spieth, the teenager who won over the gallery at last year's HP Byron Nelson Championship and was in the hunt for the title until the back nine on Sunday, has agreed to return on a sponsor's exemption to the PGA Tour event in 2011.
Spieth will play in the Nelson, May 26-29, in an attempt to finish his senior year at Jesuit College Prep in style. The 17-year-old will play golf at the University of Texas next fall.
Spieth finished tied for 16th in last year's Nelson, stunning the golf world by playing well under pressure against many of the best players in the world. With eight holes left in his final round, Spieth was actually just three strokes off the lead. He wasn't able to muster a charge on the back nine, but Spieth generated the largest crowds and gave the tournament a big publicity boost. He played that final round with Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin and soaked up all the knowledge he could from the experience.
"Jordan added a great energy to the tournament last year," tournament chairman John Beckert said in a statement. "And he certainly proved that he could compete at this level. I'm sure everyone will be interested to see how he follows that up on the course this year."
Spieth's golf resume is quite impressive. He won the 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and was victorious in the Class 5A state tournament just a week before the Nelson last year.
Spieth is now No. 2 in the Polo Golf Rankings for junior golfers and won the AJGA's HP Boys Championship in Houston earlier this week.
Richard Durrett covers golf for ESPNDallas.com.