Little-known American Spencer Levin eagled the par-four 17th on his way to a commanding six-shot lead in the unfinished second round of the frost-delayed Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Friday.
In pursuit of his first victory on the USPGA Tour, Levin fired a flawless eight-under 63 at the TPC Scottsdale to post a 14-under total of 128.
The 27-year-old holed out from a greenside bunker to eagle the driveable 17th and then parred the 18th to finish six ahead of compatriots John Huh (66) and world No. 6 Webb Simpson (69).
American Kyle Stanley, agonizingly beaten in a playoff for the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, California, last Sunday, was a further stroke back at seven-under after also carding a 66.
However, 34 players were yet to complete the second round when play was halted in fading light, among them American Harrison Frazar, who was at 11-under overall with three holes remaining.
It was an extra long day for Levin, who had to complete three holes from the opening round on Friday morning before setting off for round two.
He was delighted with his form, especially after struggling on the practice range before the start of the tournament.
“It’s kind of weird,” Levin told reporters after covering his back nine in five-under 31. “Yesterday on the range before I teed off, I didn’t feel good about my swing at all. I was hitting it all over the range and I bogeyed my first hole.”
“And I told my caddie going to the next tee: ‘This might be a nine-hole week here.’ Shows you how crazy this game is, I guess. After that I just started playing good, simple as that,” said Levin, whose best USPGA Tour finish was second place at last year’s Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Asked what had been the key to his 65-63 start, Levin said: “I’ve been putting really well and if you’re going to shoot a low round you’ve got to putt good.”
First-round leaders Ryan Palmer and Jason Dufner carded 72s to finish at six-under, alongside fellow Americans Bubba Watson, Ben Crane, Bo Van Pelt and Derek Lamely.
Phil Mickelson, winner of the Phoenix Open in 1996 and 2005, was at four-under, a four-birdie 70 putting him level with playing partners Dustin Johnson (70) and Rickie Fowler (69).
The cut was projected to fall at even-par 142, with former major winners Davis Love III, Yang Yong-eun and Angel Cabrera among those likely to miss out.
Following two consecutive mornings of one-hour frost delays, there is a chance the tournament could spill over into a finish tomorrow, just like last year’s edition, which was won by American Mark Wilson in a playoff with Dufner.