Levin holds firm at the Phoenix Open to stand on brink of first PGA Tour win
Spencer Levin, the Californian who in the week after his 20th birthday finished 13th as an amateur in the US Open, is finally on the brink of his first win on the PGA Tour.
Now 27, Levin's impressive US Open show came at Shinnecock Hills in 2004 and since turning professional in 2005 he has passed the 100-tournament mark on the main tour without a first place to his name.
That should be about to change, after he built up a six-shot lead to take into the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Steady: Spencer Levin watches his shot from the bunker on Saturday
Click here for the leaderboard
Following Friday's 63 was never going to be easy, but a solid 68, containing four birdies and just one dropped shot, a six at the long 15th, was a fair effort.
While Levin was on 17-under-par 196 for 54 holes, fellow American Webb Simpson was second on 11-under 202 after a 68, with Bubba Watson and John Huh both a further shot adrift after rounds of 67 and 69 respectively.
Harrison Frazar had been a threat to Levin at three shots adrift when darkness brought the second day to an early end, but he fell back into the pack on day three, sliding from 11 under to seven under after making a poor finish to his incomplete second round and following it with a 73.
An early-morning coaching session from Butch Harmon helped prepare Phil Mickelson for his third round, and a 67 put the four-time major winner into a share of 10th, nine shots behind Levin.
Mickelson was worried in his second round when he played the front nine in three-over 38, so called on Harmon for some pointers.
'Butch is the best,' Mickelson told pgatour.com. 'He can identify things so quickly and get you straightened out right away. I flew Butch in this morning because yesterday the front nine kind of shook me up.
Struggles: Phil Mickelson finished the third round nine shots off the lead
'We had a really good session, and I was able to feel much more confident. I'd like to be further up, but given where I was 27 holes ago, I'm in a really good spot.
'I'm starting to play some good golf, and I'm starting to get a little bit of momentum. I feel great with the putter. Ball-striking today after a session with Butch in the morning feels much better, and I'm excited to get back out and play.'
And Mickelson has not given up hope of becoming involved higher up the leaderboard. The 41-year-old's objective come his final 18 holes will be simple.
He said: 'Just shoot a good round, because out here what'll happen is when you start making mistakes or hitting a bad shot or two, it's very hard to turn it around because there's water, there's trouble everywhere, and there's also opportunities to make birdies and eagles.
'So if I can get a hot hand and put some pressure, you never know what might happen.'
The lowest third round came from DJ Trahan, whose 64 contained eight birdies but left him still even further back than Mickelson, 10 adrift of the leader.