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Crane Ekes Out Victory in St. Jude Classic


For the first time in its four days, the St. Jude Classic didn't experience a weather delay. But for the four straight day Ben Crane found his name atop the leaderboard when it meant the most in the $5.8 million PGA Tour event at TPC Southwind in Memphis.

After opening with rounds of 63, 65 and 69, the 38-year-old from Portland, Ore., struggled in the final round to a 3-over 73. But Crane had enough of a margin over the rest of the field to end up at 10-under 270, a stroke ahead of Troy Merritt.

On a long Sunday in which he needed to play 30 holes, Crane posted three bogeys in the final round for the wire-to-wire win and the fifth title in his career. The most recent was worth $1.044 million and 500 FedEx Cup points.

The first three rounds were thrown out of kilter because of rainstorms that forced the tournament to play catch up. But on Sunday the sun shone in Memphis and the event finished its 57th year without being shortened - or worse, in U.S. Open week with a possible Monday finish - because of bad weather.

Sharing third at 8-under were Sweden's Carl Pettersson (69 in the final round) and Americans Webb Simpson (71) and Matt Every (70). Another stroke back in a tie for sixth were England's Ian Poulter, who shot a Sunday best of 64, and Americans james Hahn (67), Andrew Svoboda (70), Brian Harman (72) and Billy Horschel (70).

After polishing off a promising 3-under 67 Sunday morning that got his hopes up, five-time major winner Phil Mickelson could only manage a 72 in the afternoon, ending up in a tie for sixth at 6-under 274 with Camilo Villegas (71).

Mickelson was pleased with his play this week, though he wishes he could have gotten more out of the last round in preparation for the U.S. Open, which starts Thursday at Pinehurst Resort's No. 2 Course. "The way I drove the ball last two rounds I had an opportunity to shoot really low," Mickelson told reporters.

"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."

The week was an unqualified success for Crane, who, despite a two-putt bogey on the 72nd hole, logged his first Tour title since the 2011 McGladrey Classic. Crane won't be able to go for two wins a row as he didn't qualify for the 2014 U.S. Open.

For all the scores, visit http://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html.