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Full circle: Dallas natives Scheffler, Spieth and Zalatoris reunite in featured golf at AT&T Byron Nelson

They used to ask for autographs at the popular Dallas golf tournament. Now they're the ones signing them.
Credit: Scheffler Family

MCKINNEY, Texas — Jordan Spieth brings all the boys and girls to the yard when the PGA Tour swings through his stomping grounds of north Texas.

"They got some swing juice in 'em," Spieth joked about the raucous home crowd at the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson, following his mesmerizing opening round.

After a couple years at Trinity Forest in Dallas, the tournament has made its new home at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney. The golf party tournament has gone back to its fan-friendly roots akin to its iconic days at TPC Las Colinas in Irving.

"Those last few holes got a little rowdy which was enjoyable," quipped golfer Scottie Scheffler.

He should know. After all, the Dallas native first played in the Byron Nelson in 2014 when he was a senior at Highland Park. Not only did he make the cut, but at age 17, he finished in the top 25.

RELATED: Plano's Pierceson Coody makes PGA Tour debut at AT&T Byron Nelson in front of Masters champion grandfather

"I think it's nice in a lot of ways that his friends get to come see him," said Scheffler's father, Scott.

Now 24 years old, Scheffler is a little taller, a little bigger and a much larger presence as a full-time member of the PGA Tour.

Born in New Jersey, Scheffler moved to Dallas with his dad, his mom Diane and his three sisters Callie, Sara and Molly. They left the day after Thanksgiving when Scheffler was in first grade. He started school in Texas the following Monday.

During the summers, the siblings would caddie for each other.

Credit: Scheffler Family
Credit: AP
Scottie Scheffler, 17, of Highland Park High School in Dallas, is hugged by his sister Callie, who is his caddie, after Scheffler sunk a hole-in-one on a 218-yard second hole during the third round of the Byron Nelson Championship golf tournament, Saturday, May 17, 2014, in Irving, Texas. Scheffler is playing in the tournament on a sponsor exemption. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

"He was unbelievable in high school," recalled former Highland Park golf coach Jeff Loyd.

Loyd coached Scheffler at Highland Park, where Scheffler won three UIL individual state championships (2012, 2013, 2014) and helped lead the Scots to a team state title (2013).

RELATED: 17-year-old debuts at HP Byron Nelson Golf Championship

What most people do not know about that 2013 championship is Scheffler basically played on one leg.

"I sprained [my ankle] playing pickup basketball in one of my buddy's backyards," Scheffler recounted. "Silliest injury ever. Running down the court and there was a ginormous acorn. I rolled my ankle on the acorn and my buddies are all freaking out because they heard it pop."

Two days later, Scheffler competed in the state tournament.

Because of the pain, he hit every shot with his left foot aimed straight at his target instead of aligned square.

"I just taped it up, flared it out and played golf," Scheffler affirmed.

Scheffler went on to play college golf at Texas, following in the footsteps of Spieth.

Credit: Scheffler Family

"He probably has more memories than I do because he kicked my butt a lot more than I kicked his," smirked golfer Will Zalatoris.

Zalatoris and Scheffler played junior golf together in north Texas.

Originally from San Francisco, Calif., Zalatoris moved to Plano as a kid.

Like Scheffler, Zalatoris' father introduced him to the game of golf.

"My parents were really hands-off," Zalatoris said of his golf upbringing. "My father is proud to say he's never been to a golf lesson in my entire life. His whole job, he joked, was to go get me an Orange Julius milkshake and make sure I have enough golf balls."

Credit: Will Zalatoris

Zalatoris starred at Trinity Christian Academy and won the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in 2014 -- the year after Scottie won the 2013 title.

"I get my competitive spirit from my mom [Catherine]," Zalatoris admitted. "She ran track at Oregon. Toughest person I know."

Zalatoris earned the Arnold Palmer Scholarship to Wake Forest.

In 2017, he made the U.S. Walker Cup team where he was teammates with -- who else -- Scottie Scheffler.

On Thursday and Friday in McKinney, old pals and competitors were back home.

Scheffler and Zalatoris were part of a featured group with Spieth -- a Dallas trio reunited on home turf.

"It was fun," Spieth said after the first round. "They're both obviously incredibly talented. I told [my caddie] Michael [Greller] on the second hole, 'Mikey, this is weird man. I remember being on the green in a group with these guys when I was 13 and they were 11.'"

The Byron always brings back memories for the hometown guys.

"I've come to the Byron Nelson since I was nine years old," Zalatoris reminisced. "I was one of the kids asking for autographs from guys walking off 18. It's kind of fun to see it all come full circle."

Scheffler was a regular at the tournament as well.

"In fact, we have a picture at home of Byron sitting in a cart with Scottie next to him," said Diane.

Credit: Scheffler Family

"It makes you feel good that people like him," Diane continued. "When you walk to the side of a green and you hear somebody say, 'Oh. Scheffler. Yeah, he's a good kid.' It makes you feel good because he's a good person. He's not just a golfer. And when people acknowledge it, it makes you feel good."

"He's more than his golf," Molly added.

Scheffler finished the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson tied for 47th at -11.

Zalatoris finished tied for 17th at -16.

But, the Dallas golf throne still belongs to the 27-year-old three-time major champion.

Spieth finished tied for ninth at -18.

At least, he's got company now.

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