Wire-to-wire victory for Crane

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Ben Crane carded a final round 73 to secure a one-shot victory at the St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis.

Crane had led the tournament since carding a seven-under-par 63 in the first round, but managed to just hold on to the victory after playing 30 holes on the final day after rain wreaked havoc with the schedule.

His winning score of 10-under was one stroke ahead of Troy Merritt, who carded a 71.

Former US Open champion carded a 66 to finish in a tie for third with Matt Every (70) and Sweden’s Carl Pettersson (69) at eight-under, while England’s Ian Poulter carded seven birdies in his round of 64 to finish in a tie for sixth at seven-under.

Phil Mickelson (72) and Camilo Villegas (71) finished in a tie for 11th place another stroke further behind.

“The way I drove the ball last two rounds I had an opportunity to shoot really low,” Mickelson said after his round.

“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.”

Crane started the day four shots in front but with 12 holes of his third round still remaining, since the tournament continued to catch up some of the time that was lost over the first three days.

Although he eventually completed a third round 69, his lead was cut to three shots after Merritt notched a 67 to finish the day ahead of Brian Harman, who eventually finished level with Poulter on six-under after his final round 72.

The 38-year-old Crane recorded only two bogeys in his first 54 holes, but with the victory in his sight, he fell back to 11 under thanks to two more bogeys on the outward nine.

Despite clearly struggling to keep his composure, he made a series of crucial pars on the back nine – including holding a 19-footer on the 13th which kept him in front of Merritt.

Merritt then bogeyed the 15th and missed a birdie putt at 16 to keep the gap to the Crane to two shots with two holes remaining.

Crane then parred the 16th and 17th to head to the final hole with a two-shot advantage.

At the 18th, his tee shot made sure to miss the water trap, and even though his second found the green side bunker, he was able to get up and down in three to card a bogey and with that, a narrow win.

Sunday’s victory was his first since October 2011 and his fifth overall.

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