Crane claims clubhouse lead

Ben Crane carded a seven-under-par 63 to claim the clubhouse lead after Thursday’s first round of the St. Jude Classic.

After the start of play was delayed by about three and a half hours, Crane took advantage of the windless conditions and softened greens to card seven birdies in a flawless round.

Five of his birdies came on the back nine and he was able to finish his round just as play was suspended for the day due to darkness was 60 players still on the course at TPC Southwind.

Peter Malnati carded a 65 to finish the day on five-under alongside Billy Horschel, who still had two holes to play.

Retief Goosen and Joe Durant each carded 66s, while Phil Mickelson settled for a 67.

In what turned out to be his best round of the season so far, Crane only needed 24 putts on the day, with a 27-foot on the ninth a highlight.

“We caught a huge break being on this side of the wave,” Crane said.

“You know this is ideal Memphis weather. It’s as good as it gets. It was calm, barely any wind. The greens softened up. We were able to attack some of the pins.”