McKINNEY, Texas — On a sunny PGA Tour Thursday, it was simply three longtime junior golf buddies, now all PGA Tour younger stars and multi-millionaires, Dallas’ Jordan Spieth, Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler. All having fun with a enjoyable, historic stroll on the TPC-Craig Ranch Thursday in the course of the first spherical of the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Together, they mixed to play 199 instances in Northern Texas PGA junior golf tournaments, with 63 wins between them, however earlier than the opening PGA Tour spherical, they had by no means performed in the identical group in a aggressive match, much much less a skilled occasion.
That was sufficient Lone Star golf historical past to carry out the overwhelming majority of the 12,500 COVID-limited followers, lining the fairways six-deep at levels to see the former Dallas golf prodigies turned younger PGA Tour kings.
Three main golf championships (Spieth), a rookie of the 12 months honor (Scheffler) and a breakout Masters runner-up in your first look (Zalatoris) will try this for you.
World No. 3 Jon Rahm and defending Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama would possibly as properly have been in a witness safety program for the shortage of followers following all of them whereas taking part in concurrently the Texas threesome. Early first-spherical chief J.J. Spaun’s 63 was merely a distant rumor.
All eyes had been on the trash-talking, rib-poking, high-fiving group of associates.
“You could have given me that putt,” Zalatoris, 24, advised Scheffler, additionally 24, as they walked off the par 5 fifth gap — after Will Z practically holed an eagle chip. “I said, are we good?
“Sorry, I tried,” Scheffler replied with a large grin.
Spieth, 27, might solely smile at his buddy’s trash-talking, including in his remarks, whereas strolling between holes, his ideas on the latest Dallas Cowboys draft and the very best locations to eat close to the place all three reside in Dallas.
‘It’s outstanding, it truly is,” stated Northern Texas PGA govt director Mark Harrison who was following the group. “To see three kids who started out as juniors, playing in front of thousands at home, you almost can’t believe it.”
How outstanding? PGA Tour stats guru Jordan Ray estimated the odds of three gamers, who started in the identical junior golf part, on the similar time, taking part in within the Masters Tournament within the similar 12 months, as all three did in April, at 24 — then adopted by 12 zeros — or an astronomical quantity.
May 13, 2021; McKinney, Texas, USA; Scottie Scheffler performs his shot from the second tee in the course of the first spherical of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf match. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
“Play well,” Zalatoris advised Scheffler with a big dose of sarcasm on the primary tee earlier than they started their spherical beneath the watchful eye of Peggy Nelson, the previous spouse of golf legend and match namesake Byron Nelson.
“You’ll play better,” Scheffler, stated even extra sarcastically.
“Yeah, right,” added his fixed golf buddy and comedian foil.
“Scottie kicked my butt a lot more times than I kicked his when we were juniors,” Zaltoris stated earlier than the spherical began.
Spieth, who received their 2006 Ewing Junior Classic junior golf showdown in close by Garland, 74-77-86 over Zalatoris and Scheffler respectively, might solely chuckle within the background before rapidly taking the lead once more.
He poured in a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 first gap and by no means trailed within the opening 9 holes, capturing a 31 on the entrance 9 with Scheffler at 32 and Zalatoris at 35.
Publicly, the three stated there was no aspect wager to be received on Thursday.
“Not this time,” added Zalatoris.
But golf bragging rights amongst associates, multi-millionaires or not, final eternally.