St Jude Classic: Ben Crane completes wire-to-wire victory in Memphis
Last Updated: 09/06/14 8:26am
Ben Crane carded a closing three-over 73 to grind out a one-shot victory in the St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis.
The American, who had led since day one following a seven-under 63, survived a marathon Sunday to post a winning total of 10-under par and hold off the chasing pack led by Troy Merritt.
(US unless stated)
-10 B Crane
-9 T Merritt
-8 W Simpson
-8 M Every
-8 C Pettersson (Swe)
-7 I Poulter (Eng)
-7 J Hahn
-7 A Svoboda
-7 B Harman
-7 B Horschel
-6 P Mickelson
-6 C Villegas (Col)
Former US Open champion Webb Simpson fired a 66 to finish in a tie for third alongside Matt Every and Sweden's Carl Pettersson while England's Ian Poulter shot seven birdies and a bogey in an excellent closing 64 to jump up 29 spots to tied sixth.
Crane had started Sunday with a four-shot lead but still needing to play 12 holes of his third round as the tournament continued to play catch-up following delays over the first three days.
He eventually completed a three-under 69, his lead trimmed to three shots by Merritt, who had carded a 67 to move into solo second place. Brian Harman was a shot further back in third.
Fought his swing
The final 18 proved difficult for Crane as he fought his swing for much of the round but his scrambling skills and solid putting kept him out in front.
The 38-year-old had carded just two bogeys in his opening 54 holes but suffered two more on his outward nine to fall back to 11-under.
Despite more loose tee shots, he managed a series of key saves coming home, none more important than a 19 footer for par on the 13th that kept him one clear of Merritt.
A Merritt bogey on 15 gave Crane breathing space and the gap stayed at two when the 28-year-old missed a six footer for birdie at the par five 16th.
Merritt looked as if he'd drop another shot at 18 after pulling his approach but his 12 footer for par danced around the hole before dropping to give him solo second.
Crane made pars at 16 and 17 to remain two in front and used that cushion up the last. He made sure he avoided water with his tee-shot and then hit his second into a greenside bunker. He splashed out to 15 feet and two-putted for bogey and a one-shot win.
It was Crane's fifth PGA Tour win but first since October 2011.