A year ago, Jordan Spieth almost became the youngest player in history to win the Masters.
Spieth teed off the final day of the 2014 Masters tied for the lead with Bubba Watson, and had a two-stroke lead through seven holes. Watson played a dominant Back Nine to win the Green Jacket, but the sports world was abuzz all day about Spieth, who finished tied for second.
A year later, Spieth is hopping for a different outcome — and making progress toward getting one, leading the field after 36 holes.
Here’s what you need to know about Spieth:
1. He’s Only 21 Years Old
Spieth, one of the youngest players on Tour, is in only his third full year as a pro. He had an eye-opening rookie year in 2013, winning the John Deere Classic and finishing in the top 10 at eight other tournaments. (Watch the video above for a recap of Spieth’s accomplishments.)
The John Deere victory made him the first teenager to bag a Tour victory since Ralph Guldahl at the 1931 Santa Monica Open and the fourth youngest player in history to win a tournament.
His play earned him the Tour’s Rookie of the Year award, presented to him by Tiger Woods.
When Spieth was in contention at the Masters in 2014, he was five months younger than Woods was when he won the Green Jacket for the first time in 1997.
2. He’s a 2-Time U.S. Amateur Champion
Spieth won the U.S. Amateur championship – the top honor in golf for a non-pro — in 2009 and 2011. The other guy to do it? Tiger.
Spieth was also the low amateur at the 2012 U.S. Open. He’s pictured above, in his Texas Longhorns hat, with the trophy he won for that honor.
3. He’s a Texan
Spieth has deep ties to the Lone Star state. He grew up in Dallas and learned to golf in the area. He then attended the University of Texas for a year and a half before turning pro.
He’s pictured above in his home state at the Valero Texas Open last month in San Antonio, wearing a UT-style burnt orange shirt.
In his freshman season at UT, Spieth led the Longhorns in scoring average and helped lead them to the national championship in 2011. (Here’s his national championship ring, which he posted on Instragram.)
As Yahoo! Sports reports, Spieth’s parents convinced him to stay at UT for at least one semester during his sophomore year. But he turned pro in December 2012. Judging by his results on the Tour, he was ready to make the move.
4. He Comes From a Family of Athletes
It's time! pic.twitter.com/EB0eE6oSpZ
— Steven Spieth (@StevenSpieth) April 10, 2014
Both Spieth’s parents were college athletes, and his brother, Steven, who’s been cheering Jordan on all week on Twitter, plays basketball at Brown University.
5. He Runs His Own Charity
Spieth founded the Jordan Spieth Charitable Trust, which helps families with special needs children, military families and junior golf.
Spieth’s sister, Ellie (at center in the photo above, flanked by brothers Steven and Jordan at a Dallas Cowboys game), has special needs, and according to Spieth’s PGA Tour bio, he consideres Ellie his hero.
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