February 5 2012
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Spencer Levin certainly didn't show any chinks in the armor on Saturday during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Well, there was that one bogey when he hit his tee shot in the water at the 15th hole. But Levin countered with four birdies to offset that lone gaffe and lengthened his lead to six shots entering Sunday's finale.
"I felt like I played solid," Levin said in understatement. "I felt like I was in control of my ball most of the day, and I'm pleased. Coming out there, I've never had a big lead like that starting the day, and I thought I played well. Overall I'm pleased about it."
Levin, who has never held a 54-hole lead on the PGA TOUR, will be looking for his first victory on Sunday. The 27-year-old Californian came close last year, losing on the first playoff hole to Johnson Wagner at the Mayakoba Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun.
Levin's lead is tied for the third-largest in the history of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Byron Nelson, who would have turned 100 years old today, led by 12 in 1939 while Johnny Miller was up by seven in 1975. Mark Calcavecchia (2001) and Steve Jones (1999) also lead by six on the way to their wins at TPC Scottsdale.
His nearest challenger is Webb Simpson, who matched Levin's 68 on Saturday, while John Huh and Bubba Watson, who lives in Scottsdale, are seven shots back at 10 under. Watson shot 67 in the third round while Huh, a PGA TOUR rookie riding the momentum of his first top 10 last week at Torrey Pines, had a 68.
Simpson battled his swing on Saturday as he only hit eight fairways and 12 greens in regulation. Even so, he was just four behind when he teed off on the driveable 17th where an errant chip skidded across the green and into the water for his third bogey of the day.
"we're just going to see how things are going I think starting out, see how I'm swinging,' Simpson said. "It's hard to be aggressive when you're not swinging well. If we can go figure something out on the range and I'm feeling good, then we'll be firing at pins and trying to win this thing."