Sweet swings puts Svoboda in the mix

Most players on the PGA Tour have at least one corporate sponsor. But Andrew Svoboda may be the only one that has a sponsor who sells cheesecake.

The 35-year-old from New Rochelle, N.Y., wears the logo of Junior’s, the world famous Brooklyn restaurant that is known for its cheesecake.

And while he wasn’t snacking during Friday’s round of 4-under-par 67 at TPC Summerlin, Svoboda had enough energy to reach the top of the leaderboard briefly at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open before settling into a tie for third place with Tony Finau at 9-under 133, one shot behind co-leaders Russell Knox and Andrew Putnam after two rounds.

“I putted really well,” said Svoboda, whose card included six birdies and two bogeys. “I really like the greens here, and I’ve played well here in the past.”

Svoboda finished tied for 15th last year at the Shriners Open. He missed the cut at last week’s Frys.com Open, so to bounce back this week is a huge confidence-builder.

“I just want to keep the ball in the fairway and give myself a chance to make some putts,” said Svoboda, who never has won on the PGA Tour and finished 88th in last year’s FedEx Cup standings, his best showing since joining the Tour in 2006.

So how did he get Junior’s to sponsor him?

“I caddied for the guy whose family started Junior’s,” he said, referring to current owner Alan Rosen. “Yeah, I get free cheesecake if I want it. But right now, I’m just glad to have any sponsorship.”

■ GOING LOW — Spencer Levin’s 8-under 63 tied for Friday’s best round. Of the six best rounds of his career, three have come at TPC Summerlin.

Levin birdied his final four holes and seven of his last nine after making the turn at 1 under. The 63 was huge because his first-round 71 put him in danger of missing the cut. But he’ll tee off today as part of a logjam of eight players tied for fifth at 134.

In 2009, Levin shot a career-best 62 in the first round of the Shriners Open. In 2010, he had a 63 in the second round at TPC Summerlin.

George McNeill, the 2007 Shriners Open champion, is tied with Levin after also shooting a 63 Friday. McNeill’s round included four consecutive birdies.

“Obviously, I knew what I had to do,” McNeill said. “I wasn’t really trying to force anything, but I got off to a decent start and kept it going in the middle of the round.”

■ ROMERO DEJA VU — It wasn’t as bad as last year, but Andres Romero again couldn’t sustain his good play into the second round and failed to make the cut.

Last year, the 33-year-old from Yerba Buena, Argentina, went from 10-under 61 in the first round to 10-over 81 in the second. On Friday, he had a 3-over 74 after shooting a 67 Thursday that included a hole-in-one.

The cut came at 2 under. Seventy-nine players advanced, including Wes Homan, who made a 28-foot birdie putt at the par-5 No. 9 as darkness was descending upon TPC Summerlin to grab the final spot.

Among the notables who failed to advance were FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel and former UNLV players Ryan Moore, Charley Hoffman and Chad Campbell.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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