Spieth savors the pressure

BEDMINSTER, N.J. — For the second year in a row, Jordan Spieth has reached the semifinals of the U.S. Junior.

This year, however, will be a vastly different experience for Spieth than last year. In 2008, 14-year-old Spieth was trying to become the youngest champion in U.S. Junior history. He never lead in his semifinal match against Evan Beck and eventually lost, 1 up.

Spieth is savoring the pressure this year.

“He likes to play when it’s on the line,” said Shawn Spieth, Jordan’s father. “And he’s trying to kill his parents.”

Spieth has won his last three matches in 19 holes, 2 and 1, and barely escaped his quarterfinal match today with Yaroslav Merkulov, 1 up. Spieth holed a 4-footer for par to close the match on the 18th hole.

“I’m not going to lie, my knees were shaking on that 4-footer,” said Spieth.

In the semis, Spieth will have a unique challenge in facing Logan Harrell. The two played their two practice rounds together and have seen each other at many events on the junior circuit.

“Logan and I are great friends,” said Spieth. “... I’m just going to take the same gameplan from here out.”

Spieth is the clear favorite for the rest of the event, but considering how fickle match play is, anything can happen.

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