Dallas teen phenom Jordan Spieth, a finalist for the 2012 Ben Hogan Award and one of the hottest rookies on the PGA Tour, will be on the ballot that determines Champions’ Choice exemptions to compete at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Michael Tothe, Colonial tournament director, said today that Spieth is included among the candidates eligible to be voted into this year’s field in Fort Worth, May 20-26. Spieth, 19, has earned $662,398 in seven events, including a season-best tie for second at the Puerto Rico Open, while competing under a special temporary membership granted by tour officials.
Colonial officials reserve two of their sponsor’s exemptions each year for promising newcomers who are voted into the field by past Colonial champions, with this year’s voting deadline set for May 1. Tothe said this year’s list of candidates includes Spieth, Luke List and Franklin Corpening, a former TCU and Fort Worth Paschal High School golfer who competes on the Web.com Tour. Tothe said votes will be tallied and Champions’ Choice exemptions extended as soon as possible after the voting window ends.
Tothe said the Champions' Choice expemtions are Colonial's only remaining sponsor's exemptions for 2013, at this juncture.
If voted into the Colonial field, Spieth would be making his Fort Worth debut under the same exemption granted to notable tour competitors Jason Day (2008), Bill Haas (2006), Davis Love III (1986), Paul Azinger (1985) and Curtis Strange (1978). He also would have an opportunity to become the first Champions’ Choice entry to win a Colonial title since Dave Stockton in 1967.
Spieth, who helped lead Texas to the 2012 national championship in his lone college season, tied for ninth in Sunday’s final round at the RBC Heritage, his third top-10 finish in a PGA Tour event since March 10. Spieth already has committed to play in the HP Byron Nelson Championship, May 13-19 in Irving, the week before the Colonial tournament.
_ Jimmy Burch