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Jordan Spieth exempt after T-7

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Jordan Spieth began the year with no status on either the PGA Tour or Web.com Tour.

Now, after a strong two-week run in the big leagues, he has special temporary PGA Tour membership and is on his way to securing his playing privileges for the 2013-14 season.

Spieth, just 19, birdied the 17th hole at Innisbrook's Copperhead course, then made a clutch 7-footer for par on the 18th to secure a tie for seventh place at the Tampa Bay Championship on Sunday.

That meant a payday of $148,893, pushing him to $521,893 in earnings on the PGA Tour this year. He needed $101,295 to earn as much as the 150th finisher on the 2012 money list. By doing so, he becomes a special temporary member, meaning unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of the year. He would have been limited to seven otherwise.

"Right now, it's excitement," said Spieth, who starred at the University of Texas before turning pro last year. "I'm just extremely happy. Obviously didn't think this would happen.

"At the beginning of the year, when you know that you only get seven unrestricted exemptions. ... first of all it's hard to get seven tournaments in, let alone make enough money to get your card. To be able to do it in three events. ... I missed the cut at Torrey, played well at Pebble, last week [at Puerto Rico] and here, so I never would have guessed that I would get it this quickly.

"I feel great. I feel in control and I know what it's like to be in contention in a tour event and I was more comfortable this week. I just want to get back and get a win now."

Spieth automatically qualifies for the Houston Open in two weeks because of his top-10 finish at Innisbrook. He already has an exemption for the Texas Open the week before the Masters.

The next goal, aside from a victory, is to win as much or more money than the 125th finisher on the PGA Tour money list. And Spieth is well on his way; that number is expected to come in at around $750,000. Even if he falls short, Spieth would qualify for the season-ending Final Series of four tournaments that will determine PGA Tour cards for 2013-14.