In a mere two weeks time, we watched Tour rookie Kyle Stanley incredulously lose an 8 shot lead to Brandt Snedeker at the Farmers, then on Sunday we watched that very same Stanley come from 8 down to overtake Spencer Levin at the Waste Management. It may have completed a Disney Movie story week for Kyle Stanley, but started a one of questions and second guessing for Spencer Levin.
So where does this leave Spencer Levin? Well, here’s his keys to coming back stronger.
Next Time, Stay in the Moment
He said it himself; “Thinking, I’m this many ahead; if I can just par this I’ll do this instead of thinking, okay, let’s hit a good shot and try to make a birdie. Don’t get me wrong, I was still trying to make birdies, I just think that I wasn’t quite in the present on a lot of shots.”
As soon as your concentration lapses, as soon as you start getting ahead of yourself, that’s when the Driver finds the cholla cactus. It’s hard to blame Levin here, this was his first lead after 54 on the PGA Tour, with some big names in Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson trying to run you down, but the ability to stay in the present is what made Tiger so very unbeatable, and a lesson Spencer Levin learned the hard way.
Next Time, Keep a Short Memory
It’s no different than the goalie needing to forget the last softie, the quarterback who laid the pass right into the safeties hands, the pitcher who left the curve hanging, you have to forget your last shot. Levin had a chance to reign it in after bogeys on 4 and 6, to stay aggressive and stay with his game. Instead, you could see the frustration mounting with each missed putt, the bogey on 11 that slipped right edge, then again on 12 sliding his putt by on the high side.
So even after giving so many strokes back to the field, he’s still co-leader at 15 when his drive finds the cacti. Granted, it’s hard to factor momentum into the game of golf, but with a clear cache, Levin still could’ve walked away with the crystal…thing.
Hell, here’s a duffer’s tip for of all skill levels; you’re never as great as your greatest shots and you aren’t as terrible as your most horrific. I sound like a junior high football coach.
This Time, Learn From It
It’s always easier to play from behind; to be the predator rather than the prey. Stanley admitted it last week at the Farmers, Levin this week at the Waste Management. Both had never led a tournament after 36, 54, 63 holes, both were completely uncomfortable with the circumstances, and both paid dearly for it.
We already saw Levin admitted to looking ahead, watching his lead dwindle with red numbers piling up on everyone’s scorecard but his. Stanley bounced back this week, but not before he was taught a lesson, ”I didn’t pay much attention to the leaderboards until maybe four or five holes left. I didn’t really think about it too much today, but I made the mistake of thinking about it probably all of the final round last week.”
Now that’s just one example. I’ m sure Spencer and his caddy will look back at his round and see plenty of missed opportunities that he’ll be better off for. You can’t teach experience, and Levin enduring one of the more humbling in life.
Get Back in the Saddle
There is absolutely nothing worse than dwelling on misfortune and squandered opportunity. Spencer Levin needs to get right back at it, just like Kyle Stanley did. And to the surprise of no one here, Levin is in the field for this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
In fact, with a 4th place finish last year, Levin has to be absolutely chomping at the bit to get back out there. Wish him luck, we’re about to find out how strong the kid is.