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Levin collapse allows Stanley victory at Phoenix Open

6-shot lead evaporates, denying Levin second PGA win

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One-time PGA winner Spencer Levin went into Sunday’s final round at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a six-stroke lead that might have let him relax and coast to his second Tour win.

But it was not to happen, as the seven-year veteran collapsed on the final day of the tournament with a disappointing 4-over par 75.

His disassembly allowed Washington state native Kyle Stanley to blow past with a stellar 6-under par 65 for his first win. Stanley was never far behind, having shot sub-70 rounds on all four days of the tournament at TPC Scottsdale.

Levin finished third at 13-under par.

The win moves Stanley to the top of the Fed Ex Cup points list, though it is early in the golf season, and it will surely raise him in the world rankings from his previous 87th.

Arizona State University graduate Phil Mickelson was, as always, a favorite of the gallery. He drew huge cheers at every hole, despite his lackluster finish at 26th place. He holed a bunker shot for a birdie on the final hole to card a plus-2 73.

“It was a cool way to finish off. Obviously, I didn’t play the way I wanted to today, but I had a fun week here. I couldn’t believe the crowds yesterday, just spectacular. The tournament has turned out to be a really exciting finish,” Mickelson said just before spending 15 minutes signing autographs at the clubhouse after his round.

Oregon native Ben Crane fired a 5-under 66 to finish second in the loudest tournament on the PGA Tour. Crane watched on the 18th hole as Stanley holed a 3-foot putt to seal the victory. Crane followed with a 3-footer of his won to secure second place alone.

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The galleries had thinned a bit at the Greatest Show on Grass on Super Bowl Sunday, though crowd cheers from the infamous 16th hole could be hear throughout the Stadium Course. Drinks flowed freely at the course, with the rowdiest gallery on golf living up to it’s reputation.

“Rickie FOWLER!” yelled one fan from the bleachers on the par 3 16th hole. Fowler was nowhere near the 16th at the time.

The PGA Tour continues next week with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, then to the Northern Trust Open in Pacific Palisades, California, before coming to Marana for the Accenture Match Play Championship.

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B. Poole/TucsonSentinel.com

Kyle Stanley's standard bearer heads to the clubhouse bearing the evidence of Stanley's first PGA win.

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