Jordan Spieth eyes At&T National title, FedEx Cup

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BETHESDA, Md. — Jordan Spieth, playing with nothing to lose, gave himself another chance to win going into the weekend at the AT&T National.

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Roberto Castro, a former Georgia Tech standout, led after a first-round 66. He had 69 on Friday and is now tied.  NICK WASS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
NICK WASS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Roberto Castro, a former Georgia Tech standout, led after a first-round 66. He had 69 on Friday and is now tied.

Spieth hit every green in regulation Friday and extended his streak to 29 holes without a bogey on a tough Congressional course, giving him 5-under-par 66 and a share of the lead with Roberto Castro (69) .

They were at 7-under 135. With storms soaking the course after they finished, the second round will be completed this morning.

Players went back out to the practice range after a two-hour delay, only for more storms to approach and extended the suspension until the PGA Tour called it for the day. Andres Romero was at 5- under with five holes remaining. No one else was within four shots of the lead.

Spieth is the 19-year-old Texan who started the season with no status, uncertain where he was going to play. He now has earned over $900,000 – the equivalent of being No. 39 on the PGA Tour money list – and is assured of a tour card when the new season starts in October.

But he won’t be eligible for the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs unless he’s a PGA Tour member, and he can’t be a member this year unless he wins.

“Honestly, I think it’s a great position to be in,” Spieth said. “I’m just free swinging. I can’t be in the playoffs unless I win, and that makes winning the No. 1 goal. You’d like to get in the playoffs and play against the top players, the best players from this year. It’s everyone’s goal out here to win the FedEx Cup. My goal is to move up the world rankings as much as I can, and that’s the way to do it, is to get into those playoffs.”

D.H. Lee had 66 and was two shots behind at 139. Cameron Tringale (67) and James Driscoll (69) were another shot behind.

The group at 139 included former British Open champion Stewart Cink (69), Gary Woodland (69) and David Lingmerth, who went from around the cut line to contention with 65.

Spieth has lived up to the hype he first generated when he played late on Sunday in the Byron Nelson Championship at age 16 and tied for 16th. In one year at Texas, the Longhorns won the NCAA title. And in six months as a pro, he has shown quickly that he belongs.

He already has four top 10s and has special temporary membership, meaning he gets unlimited exemptions. His goal was to somehow get a PGA Tour card for 2013-14 season, and a win would be over the top.

Even so, the teenager who was born just three years before Tiger Woods turned pro is savvy to realize the tournament is not even halfway over.

“I can’t really think about that at this point,” he said.

Scoring was slightly better at Congressional. Warmer weather in the morning made the ball fly a little farther and shortened the course.

Spieth began his day with a 25-foot birdie putt on the first hole.

LOCAL INTEREST

PATRICK REED

Ex-Augusta State golfer

Score: 76-DNF

Shots back: 6

HENRIK NORLANDER

Ex-Augusta State golfer

Score: 72-DNF

Shots back: 7

WILL CLAXTON

Swainsboro, Ga.*

Score: 72-DNF

Shots back: 9

CHARLES HOWELL

Augusta native

Score: 76-72

Shots back: 13

SCOTT BROWN

North Augustan

Score: 74-74

Shots back: 13

* former resident


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