Spencer Levin of Sacramento played for nearly a decade on the PGA Tour and now he’s trying to make it back there.
The 38-year-old Levin took a big step in that direction when he made the field for the Veritex Bank Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour as a Monday qualifier and wound up winning the tournament by closing with a bogey-free, eight-under-par 63 to beat Brett Drewitt of Australia by one stroke at Texas Rangers Golf Club in Arlington, Texas.
“Those are tough to do,” Levin said of Monday qualifiers, who made a birdie there on the 18th hole to get into the Veritex Bank Championship. “You’ve got to shoot a really low score. In the middle of the back nine (on Monday), I felt like I was playing really well and I was hoping I’d get in. I didn’t know I was going to win, but I knew I was going to play well this week.
“I’ve played in so many of these things now and, I don’t know, it’s kind of weird. You just don’t ever know when it’s going to happen. There were times before I thought it would happen, but it didn’t. Today, it did. It was just my time.”
Levin, who played college golf at UCLA and New Mexico and won the 2004 California State Amateur, finished the tournament with a score of 66-68-67-63—264, 20-under-par, while Drewitt wound up at 64-66-65-70—265, and Rico Hoey of Rancho Cucamonga and USC totaled 67-68-68-63—266 to tie for fourth with Patrick Fishburn of Brigham Young, who wound up at 65-70-65-66—266.
It was the fourth professional victory for Levin, win won three times on the PGA Canadian Tour, and the closest he came to winning on the PGA was when he lost to Johnson Wagner on the first hole of a playoff in the 2011 Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya Cancun.
“I didn’t even know if I would have wanted to keep playing golf,” said Levin, who also in a playoff to Kevin Tway in the 2013 Albertson Boise Open on the Web.com Tour, which is now the Korn Ferry Tour. “It’s been a long time, but it’s something I’ve always done. I think every pro golfer will tell you, regardless if they haven’t done it, they have a little bit of belief in them. They always kind of picture the day happening, and I’ve been picturing a day like this for a long time. There’s been so many ups and downs… if you keep playing and you keep working at it and you keep having tournaments to play in, something good’s going to happen, and today’s proof of that.
“I hit a bad shot on No. 10 and thought it was going to cost me the tournament. It went into the trees and somebody spit it out and it went right in the fairway, and I made a birdie, and played great the rest of the way in. That (potential) bogey is history now with that birdie here on No. 18, so I’ll be thinking about this instead of that.
“I was going to go home unless I top-25’d here, but I’m going to Florida (for the net event, the Lecom Suncoast Classic this week at Lakewood National Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.). I’m heading east instead of west. I’m just happy. I couldn’t be more grateful, and I’m just looking forward to the rest of the year. I got in here last Sunday trying to Monday (qualify), and I’m here this Sunday with a win. It’s amazing what can happen in a week.”
Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, was fifth at 65-67-70-65—267, followed by Tom Whitney of La Quinta, who totaled 70-68-67-64—269, while Jacob Bridgeman shot 65-70-71-64—270 to tie for seventh with Taylor Dixon, who finished at 65-70-70-65—270, and Jake Knapp of Newport Beach and UCLA, who wound up at 69-69-67-65—270.
Matt McCarty of Scottsdale, Ariz., who played college golf at Santa Clara, posted a score of 66-69-71-65—271 to tie for 10th with Zack Fischer, who totaled 66-69-69-67—271, Alejandro Tosti of Argentina, who finished at 63-72-72-64—271, Jackson Suber, who wound up at 65-69-68-69—271, and John VanDerLaan, who came in at 68-67-67-69—271.
Joe Highsmith of Pepperdine tied for 21st at 67-71-69-66—273.
For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/korn-ferry-tour/leaderboard