Spencer Levin is usually seen smoking darts like it’s his job, but this week at TPC Scottsdale, he’s also hitting darts. The fiery Levin teed off in the final round of the Phoenix Open with a six-shot lead through 54 holes.
Spence has got this in the bag, right? Well, if we learned anything last week at the Farmers Insurance Open, NO lead is safe. Not even a seven-shot advantage with 11 holes to play. The tournament is 72 holes, not 71, etc.
The 27-year-old was last in contention at the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational last March. He was in second place going into the final round and didn’t have the best of days, but he certainly learned a lot from the experience. Bay Hill is a lot tougher than TPC Scottsdale, though. And you know that — however, minimal — he’s thinking about Kyle Stanley’s meltdown in the back of his mind (“Don’t pull a KFS, don’t pull a KFS” should be written in his yardage book if he carried one. Kidding.). Speaking of which, this should make the huge risk-reward holes quite exciting on Super Bowl Sunday.
Levin looked relatively calm on the first tee, making small talk with playing partner Webb Simpson. He got a little quick with a fairway wood on the first tee shot and pulled it into the desert.
What’s the over/under on how many cigarettes Levin sucks down today?
Another random tidbit about Spence (but I still need him to confirm): He doesn’t have email OR a cell phone, according to reliable sources. Yes, seriously.
The rowdy crowds, which will be significantly less wild today compared to Saturday, don’t rattle Spence. In his post-third round presser on Saturday, he said: “I feel relaxed actually when everybody is yelling and screaming. It just kind of makes me not think so much about my swing and all that. I feel the moment and hopefully the crowd is on my side and hopefully I can build up that. I like it. I just enjoy it. It’s fun. It keeps me focused, keeps you into what you’re doing. I think it’s great.
“I’m not thinking about much anyway, and then the whole attitude and the whole feel is great, so I’m having a lot of fun. Hopefully I can just stay calm, try my best and keep having fun. I’m going to try my best. That’s all I’m going to do, and we’ll see what happens.”
Levin’s closest competitors? Ben Crane is off to a great start — he’s four-under through 5 and within four shots of the lead. Kyle “KFS” Stanley is once again in contention at 11-under total, along with rookie John Huh, Chris Stroud, Jason Dufner and Webb Simpson. Bubba Watson, playing in the final threesome with Levin and Webb, isn’t off to the best start. The big-swinging lefty is one-over through four.
Who you got to win? Can Levin pull this off?
By the way, I spotted this T-shirt in the crowd yesterday and it wins best of the week:
And Rickie Fowler is a total rockstar at this event, especially on the 16th hole. Go here for proof… It beats ASU grad Mickelson’s entrance by a mile! While the crowds are still huge Phil fans, I think Rickie’s popularity might surpass Phil’s soon.
Oh yeah, I’d like to apologize for the lack of posts this week, but I was extremely sick. So sick that I couldn’t get out of bed for three days (just ask Paige Mackenzie and her brother Brock). I’m still not 100%. I tried coming to work yesterday, but after an hour on 16, I thought I was going to faint/hurl. My fever has finally broke, though, so let’s hope it stays that way. I can’t be sick for Tiger’s big debut at Pebble Beach next week!
Something else I’ll keep in mind today: Tread carefully. Though it was a Monday finish last year, I fell hard and sprained my ankle badly behind the 18th green while I was trying to rush to the 10th tee for the second extra hole in the playoff between Mark Wilson and Jason Dufner. Because I couldn’t miss a single moment of that epic battle. I’ll try to watch where I’m going this time around!
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)