Two teenagers made a big splash on the professional golf scene over the weekend.
Dallas Jesuit (Texas) junior Jordan Spieth carded rounds of 68-69-67-72 for a 4-under-par total of 276 to tie for 16th in the prestigious Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas. The last high school golfer to compete in the tourney was Tigers Woods in 1993. Jason Day won his first PGA Tour title with a score of 270.
Meanwhile, Leesville Road (Raleigh, N.C.) sophomore Grayson Murray was shooting a 54-hole score of 211, 2-under-par, which tied him for 55th during the Nationwide Tour’s Rex Hospital Open in Raleigh, N.C. A second round of thunderstorms washed out the final 18 holes. John Riegger captured the title at 20-under-par 193.
Despite his youth, the 16-year-old Spieth already has put together a highly impressive resume. It includes the 2009 U.S. Junior Amateur championship, the AJGA Rolex Junior Male Player of the Year title and the No. 1 position in the national Polo Rankings.
Rob Coleman, who is chief communications officer for the American Junior Golf Association, says Spieth "clearly is the No. 1 player in junior golf. Considering how well junior golfers have played in major tournaments, I don’t think anyone should be surprised to see him play so well.
"I didn’t expect him to contend (he was just three strokes behind the leader at one point on the final nine holes), but it’s not a shock. To have one magical week like Jordan had is not far-fetched. There are no sure bets (to make the PGA Tour), but Jordan clearly is headed in the right direction. He’s got the game and the right demeanor."
Coleman noted that Murray is No. 53 in the Polo Rankings "and the way he is playing now, I feel he’s on the move upward. He’s poised to have a breakout year."
Spieth’s coach at Jesuit, Cathy Marino, pointed out, "I know what he shot was about what he always shoots. It was a bigger stage, but the same things I see him do day-in and day-out. He’s going to be tremendous and has the ability to do really special things."
His final round of 72 was his highest of the week.
"The golf course played harder," Marino said of the final day. "There was more wind and the pins were in some difficult spots. He’s probably still thinking about No. 15 and 18. I’m sure he’d want to re-do them."
A reported 78,000 fans attended Saturday’s session, and another big crowd was present for Sunday’s finals. Marino estimated that Spieth probably had the biggest following and noted, "He really responded to the gallery and fed off of it."
Carolina Country Club pro Ted Kiegiel has been coaching Murray since he was 9 years old. He noted, "I expected him to play very well. He’s been progressing so well and is really just coming into his own now. He’s had a growth spurt and has gotten longer off the tee.
"His short game is very good and his management game around the golf course is really good. I expect Grayson to do great things in the game."
Murray, who won a state title earlier this spring, has made a commitment to Wake Forest University.
McGee wins 22 state titles
Pass Christian (Miss.) senior Cory McGee completed a brilliant high school career with an incredible 22 state championships. She won 17 individual crowns in track and five in cross country. The University of Florida recruit set state-meet records last week in the 800-meter run (2:10.74) and the 1,600-meter run (4:50.64). The 800 record had stood since 1981. She also holds the 3,200-meter record, 10:39.57, which she set as a freshman.
* National Player of the Year Harrison Barnes (Ames, Iowa) came out late for track following a banner senior basketball campaign. At the Class 4A state meet, he tied for fifth in the high jump (6 feet, 4 inches) and was sixth in the long jump (21-4.75).
* John Sletten has retired as head track coach at Ames after winning a record nine state titles and guiding eight other teams to runner-up finishes in 41 years. He also won five state titles in cross country.
Holmes hires champion coach
Holmes (Covington, Ky.) has hired Jason Booher as its head basketball coach. Booher guided tiny Shelby Valley (Pikeville, Ky.) to the 2010 state title. One year earlier Holmes was the state champion.
* David Milson, who won 559 games, has retired as head basketball coach at Cedar Hill (Texas) and has been replaced by Temple coach Tim Thomas.
* Sidiki Johnson, a 6-9, 220-pound junior, is transferring from St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) to Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.TV.
* Westlake (Atlanta, Ga.) senior Marcus Thornton has signed with the University of Georgia. The 6-7 standout, who was released by Clemson, is the state’s reigning Mr. Basketball.
* Stephanie Butler has been fired as head girls basketball coach at Butler (Matthews, N.C.) for alleged recruiting violations. She led Butler to a 25-4 record and the Class 4A state title this year. She will retain her teaching position.
* National boys basketball champion Yates (Houston) defeated city foe Bellaire, 100-93, in a charity exhibition game. A crowd estimated at 4,500 turned out to support the family of former Bellaire player Tobi Oyedeji, who died in a recent car accident. Oyedeji was headed for Texas A&M, and its coaching staff also was in attendance.
Albanese loses heartbreaker
Castilleja (Palo Alto, Calif.) senior pitcher Samantha Albanese suffered a tough 2-1 loss in 11 innings to Valley Christian during the CIF Central Coast Section softball quarterfinals. She struck out 20, did not give up an earned run and hit a home run.
* Hebron (Carrollton, Texas) nipped Burleson, 1-0, in the Class 5A Region I semifinals as Heather Stearns struck out the first 13 batters and 18 overall.
* Central (Providence, R.I.) pitcher Leslie Peralta pitched a double no-hitter and fanned 18 during 11-1 and 20-0 five-inning victories over Bishop Keough.
* Milestone victories: Valley View (Germantown, Ohio) coach Dona Layman notched her 400th victory, while Lexington Catholic (Ky.) coach Bob Griggs posted No. 300.
Bennett sets homer record
Farragut (Knoxville, Tenn.) slugger Ethan Bennett broke the Tennessee state record with his 25th home run this spring.
* Legacy (Mansfield, Texas) pitcher Noah Syndergaard struck out 15 during a 5-2 victory over Birdville.
* Bishop Eustace Prep (Pennsauken, N.J.) baseball coach Sam Tropiano recorded his 500th victory, 9-4, against Seneca.
Another national record
Torrance (Calif.) sensation Vladimir Morozov set his second national record within a week when he swam the 100-yard freestyle in a blazing 42.87 seconds while leading off the 400-yard freestyle relay at the Southern Section Masters meet in Long Beach, Calif. The previous record of 43.05 was held by Jimmy Feigen (Churchill, San Antonio, Texas). Olympic legend Mark Spitz watched Morozov set his record and called his performance "unbelievable," according to the Swimming World Website.
* Cleveland (Portland, Ore.) senior Alex Rovello is one of just two boys to win four consecutive Oregon state tennis championships. The University of Oregon recruit captured the Class 5A title last week and never lost a set in four years of high school competition.
* Dearborn (Mich.) senior Soony Saad has been named Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year. The University of Michigan recruit set state records with 76 goals in one year and 172 in his career.
* Aurora Christian (Ill.) lost promising football players John and Sheldon Magee through transfers this year. However, since then, it has picked up a standout transfer quarterback, sophomore Anthony Maddie, who last fall paced Joliet Catholic to the Class 5A state title.
* Skaneateles (N.Y.) lacrosse coach Ron Doctor recently picked up his 400th career victory, 18-5, over Jordan-Elbridge.