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Levin lights up record crowd at Phoenix

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Spencer Levin remained in control in the Phoenix Open in front of the largest crowd in tournament history, shooting 3-under 68 on Saturday to take a six-stroke lead into the final round.

The crowd of 173,210 in perfect conditions at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course bettered the record of 170,802 set in Round 3 in 2008.

"It was fun, for sure, but I was trying to focus, too," Levin said of the huge crowd and party atmosphere. "You don't get that too often, all those people cheering."

Levin, five strokes ahead after the second round finished Saturday morning, had four birdies and a bogey to reach 17-under 196. The bogey on the par-5 15th was his first since the opening hole of the tournament.

"I felt like I played solid," Levin said. "I felt like I was in control of my ball most of the day, and yeah, I'm pleased."

Webb Simpson was 11 under after 68. He's the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 6

"I feel good, but my swing is just not really getting in synch," Simpson said. "I'm missing the ball left and right. I want to polish that up. But I made a bunch of good swings down the stretch that gave me a lot of confidence."

Bubba Watson was seven strokes behind Levin after 67.

"He's playing so good, you don't expect him to come back in the field," Watson said. "You're going to have to go chase him down."

Tour rookie John Huh also was 10 under after shooting 69.

Jason Dufner, second last year after a playoff loss to Mark Wilson, shot 68 to join Kyle Stanley (69), Chris Stroud (66), Greg Chalmers (67) and Ben Crane at 9 under.

Fan favorite Phil Mickelson was 8 under after 67. The former Arizona State star won the tournament in 1996 and 2005.

"I'd like to be further up, but given where I was 27 holes ago, I'm in a really good spot," Mickelson said. "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."

Levin saved par on the amphitheater par-3 16th after leaving his first attempt 5 feet short, holing a tricky sidehill putt. He then birdied the short par-4 17th.

Qatar Masters: Paul Lawrie recovered from a penalty for dropping his ball on a marker to shoot 5-under 67 and take a one-shot lead over Nicolas Colsaerts (68) at Doha. Lawrie, winner of the 1999 British Open, made six birdies for a two-round total of 8-under 136. The tournament has been disrupted by wind, and organizers called off Friday's play and shortened the event to three rounds. Conditions improved Saturday, but it remained windy.

Australian Ladies Masters: So Yeon Ryu, last year's U.S. Open champion, shot 3-under 69 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round at Gold Coast. Ryu had a 54-hole total of 20-under 196. Christel Boeljon (68) was second. Lexi Thompson, 16, of Coral Springs was 11 strokes back after shooting 72.

Levin lights up record crowd at Phoenix 02/04/12 [Last modified: Saturday, February 4, 2012 9:26pm]

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