Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Spencer Levin is alive and well on a local golf course

 Last Monday my golfing buddies and I were playing Cordova Golf Course, a simple par-66 layout on the Jackson Highway in Rancho Cordova. As a bunch of older guys typically do, we don’t play that quick and three of us like to walk 18 holes. So these two young men were quickly moving up behind us. We decided to tee off on hole No. 4 and then let them play through. I told my partners I’ll walk back to the No. 3 green and talk to these two young men. As I neared the green one of them chipped his ball out of the sand to about two inches from the cup. When I looked to him and said, ”Hey, great shot” I recognized him. 

It was Spencer Levin. 

Elk Grove's Spencer Levin, getting in some
practice Nov. 20 at Cordova Golf Club

As often as I wrote about Levin and his feats and defeats on the PGA Tour I felt like I really knew him. We only talked about three times on the phone, but if you’ve been a regular reader of this column you know I wrote about him often. He is about the only guy from Elk Grove to make it to the Tour. 

Levin knew who I was and with a big grin said I wrote something incorrect about him. It was about a year ago when Levin made the cut at the Shriners’ Children’s Open, the first cut he made on the Tour in five years. He said I wrote in my column his best year he earned $230,000 and quickly told me his best year was 2011 and he earned $2,388,000. I didn’t know what to say except that I am sure I didn’t make up that $230,000 figure but would check our Citizen archives and make a written apology, if needed.

 Spence, I am truly sorry. 

On Oct. 10, 2022 I did indeed write in this column that his best year was 2008 when he earned $236, 185. I was wrong (I’ve sure I got that info off PGATour.com). Levin’s best year was indeed 2011 when he earned, more correctly, $2,388,038. In fact in his best years, between 2010 and 2015, Levin was a regular entrant on the Tour. According to PGATour.com and Spotrac.com, his career winnings total $8,236,107. His resume on the Tour includes one runner-up, two third-place finishes and nine top-five and 17 top 10 finishes. 

Watching him briefly as he and his playing partner, who Levin introduced as a fellow touring pro (sorry, I didn’t write down his name), were teeing off and passing us by on No. 4 at Cordova, it was evident he can still play excellent golf. 

Before he went forward to the green at No. 4, I had to ask the obvious, “I find it unusual that the first time we meet in person on a golf course, it’s at Cordova. Why are you here being a touring pro?” (No offense, management of Cordova Golf Club) The response was simple: his dad, Don, teaches lessons at Cordova and he got Spence and friend out on the course for a few quick holes. 

At age 39, Levin is still touring, now on the Korn Ferry Tour where he’s competed in 118 events with a win, two runner-ups, a third-place finish and 12 finishes in the top 10. His lone victory was this summer at the Veritex Bank Championship in Arlington, Tex. He fired a final round 63, eight-under-par, to finish with a minus-20 and a one-stroke victory over Brett Drewitt. Levin had a good year in 2023 finishing 50th in the Korn Ferry points total. If he ends up in the top 30 next year, he’ll earn back his PGA Tour card.

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