The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Ben Crane goes wire to wire in St. Jude Classic for 5th PGA Tour title, first since 2011

  • Print

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - With four PGA Tour titles on his resume, Ben Crane knew what it would take to win again.

So he made a list of six items to keep him on track before finishing off a wire-to-wire victory at the St. Jude Classic for his fifth career win and first since 2011.

"You forget how hard it is," Crane said. "You forget how much practice went in. You start to think you deserve things sometimes."

Crane closed by two-putting for bogey and a 3-over 73 that gave him a one-stroke victory Sunday. Rain delays forced Crane into the marathon session at TPC Southwind after a nearly sleepless night, finishing 12 holes in the morning in a third-round 69 to take a three-shot lead into the final round.

"This win's different, different for me," said Crane, who celebrated by hugging caddie Joe Stock, his former Oregon teammate. "I want to treat it differently. I really want to enjoy it, and I don't want to act like there's five more behind it. I do want to celebrate it with my friends and my wife and my kids, who probably watched me play on TV today for the first time and kind of recognize what was going on."

Crane finished at 10-under 270, days after failing to qualify for the U.S. Open. That marked a low point after the 38-year-old spent the past six months reworking his swing to protect his back, while wondering if his career was over. He spent time with a coach picturing the right way to hit shots.

Everything clicked Thursday with an opening 63.

"I did not expect the hole to open up like that and just start making putts from everywhere," Crane said.

Troy Merritt had his career-best finish at second after a 71. Webb Simpson (65), Matt Every (70) and Carl Pettersson (69) were 8 under, and Ian Poulter had a 64 to tie for sixth at 7 under.

"Ben played great," Merritt said. "Hats off to him. Well deserved. He's been struggling for a little while. Very happy for Ben."

Phil Mickelson, among those tuning up for the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, left winless in his 20th event since the British Open. He tied for 11th at 6 under after a 72.

Mickelson had consecutive birdies to go 8 under only to bogey the next two, including hitting into the water in front of the green on the par-3 14th. He still finished much better than his tie for 49th at Memorial last week after an early visit from FBI agents and lingering questions about an insider-trading investigation.

"The way I drove the ball last two rounds I had an opportunity to shoot really low," Mickelson said. "My iron play was poor, and my putting was pathetic. I'll have to make some changes and to get ready for next week. But the game is not far off because I'm driving the ball very well and putting it in play."

Wind, thunderstorms, lightning and fog delayed play each of the first three days. Players started the final round almost immediately after concluding the third and finished without single delay Sunday.

Crane had three bogeys in the final round, one more than through his first 54 holes. He became the first winner on tour without a birdie in his final round since Justin Leonard did it at Southwind in 2005.

He cruised along before two-putting for bogey on No. 6, dropping his lead to two strokes over Brian Harman and Merritt. Crane bogeyed No. 9 after hitting his tee shot into the rough. He couldn't clear the rough with his next shot, and his third bounced to the rough behind the green.

Merritt was closest, within a stroke for six holes before sending his tee shot on the par-4 15th into the rough. He couldn't roll the ball in from 15 feet to save par.

Crane strung together eight straight pars before going to the par-4 No. 18 with a two-stroke lead needing to avoid the water down the left side of the fairway. He did, though he did find the greenside bunker. Crane two-putted from 12 feet for the win. He earned $1,044,000.

Divots: Crane is the eighth player in this event's history to win after having at least a share of the lead after every round. Lee Westwood was the last in 2010. ... Crane also won the 2010 CIMB Classic before it became an official tour event.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Raw: Video shows destroyed West Hawk Inn

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A goose comes in for a landing Thursday morning through heavy fog on near Hyw 59 just north of Winnipeg - Day 17 Of Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many wins do you think the Bombers will finish with this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google