SPENCER LEVIN TOOK the Phoenix Open lead with a hard-charging approach. He figures that’s the best way to stay there, too.
“You don’t want to get too tentative or play away from shots,” Levin said. “If you want to play well and make birdies you can’t do that, so I’m just going to try and stay as aggressive as I can the next two days.”
Levin holed out from a greenside bunker for eagle on the par-4 17th and had six birdies for an 8-under 63 and a three-stroke lead Friday in the suspended second round.
“Hopefully, I can just keep trying to believe in myself and just keep trying to make my swing, and we’ll see what happens,” Levin said. “I’m going to give it my best shot. It should be fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
On 17, Levin took one last drag on his cigarette, stamped it out in the rough and climbed into the bunker behind the 17th green. He set up quickly, took a quick glance at the hole and splashed out. The ball landed about 10 feet from the hole, bounced twice and rolled into the cup for an eagle-2.
“That was pretty cool,” Levin said.
Harrison Frazar was 6 under for the round and 11 under overall with three holes left at TPC Scottsdale when play was suspended because of darkness.
Kyle Stanley was 7 under after a 66 as he tries to rebound from a devastating loss last week. On Sunday at Torrey Pines, he made a triple-bogey 8 on the final hole of regulation and lost to Brandt Snedeker in a playoff.
The 27-year-old Levin, remembered for a hole-in-one and 13th-place tie in the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock while still in school at New Mexico, is winless on the PGA Tour. He came close last year, losing a playoff to Johnson Wagner in the Mayakoba Golf Classic. At Torrey Pines, Levin had a share of the first-round lead after a 62, but followed with rounds of 76, 73 and 72 to tie for 43rd.
“Last week I played great the first round and didn’t play well the rest of the week, but overall I think my game is getting better,” Levin said.
Fan favorite Phil Mickelson finished off a 70 at dusk to reach 4 under. He had a bogey and a double bogey in a front-nine 38, then made four birdies — the last drawing the loudest cheers of the day on the amphitheater par-3 16th — on the back nine.
“The front nine, I don’t know what to say. I mean, it was just terrible,” said Mickelson, the former Arizona State star who won the tournament in 1996 and 2005.
“I was able to kind of self-correct it a little bit for the back to shoot 4 under and turn it around. It’s not what I was hoping for going into the day, but I’m looking forward to playing the weekend and seeing if I can light it up.”
Defending champion Mark Wilson, coming off a victory two weeks ago in the Humana Challenge, was 3 under after a 69.
Thirty-four players were unable to finish the second round after frost delayed the start for an hour for the second straight day. Last year, frost and frozen greens delayed play nine hours during the week, forcing a Monday finish.
– John Nicholson, AP