Golf

Ben Crane seals dramatic win in St. Jude Classic

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Football News
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Ben Crane sealed his first win in American for three years with a hard-fought victory at the severely weather interrupted St. Jude Classic.

Troy Merritt finished a single stroke adrift at nine-under par, while 2012 US Open winner Webb Simpson gained some confidence ahead of next week's event at Pinehurst No.2 with a closing 66 to finish in a tie for third alongside Matt Every and Swede Carl Pettersson.

England's Ian Poulter, who will look to emulate his friend Justin Rose's Merion victory when the second major of the season starts on Thursday, fired a superb six-under 64 to surge into the top 10.

Phil Mickelson, a record six-time runner-up at his home Open, narrowly missed out on securing his first top-10 on the PGA Tour this season with a closing 73 - two over - to lie in tied 11th at six under.

Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey were the only other European's to finish inside the top 25 as a host of the game's elite took the week off in preparation for Pinehurst.

It was a brilliant wire-to-wire victory for Crane, though, as he battled the field and the elements to secure his first win on home soil since triumphing at the McGladrey Classic in October 2011.

On Sunday, the 38-year-old was facing the momentous challenge of playing 30 holes after storms throughout the previous three days had meant he could not start his penultimate round until nearly 17:00 local time on the Saturday.

That meant an early start for the leader as he aimed to finish the 12 holes of his third round that he had left, and he began brightly with a chip-in birdie - but that would turn out to be his only gain of the day in Memphis as the importance of victory looked like it began to take a hold of the Portland-born American.

However, he still managed a third consecutive round in 60's as he closed out a third-round 69 before heading back to the first to begin the final round.

Starting with a four-shot lead, Crane erred on the side of caution with his play, opening with five pars before a bogey at the par-four sixth was followed by another blemish at the ninth to reach the turn in two over and with a two-shot lead.

Despite the increasing pressure on a man who looked to be playing for his golfing future, the American held himself together impeccably on the back nine with eight straight pars as the chasing pack failed to mount a meaningful challenge against the man who had led since Thursday's opening 63.

With a two-shot lead in tact heading to 18, he once again played safe and his cautious bogey was good enough to seal his fifth PGA Tour title and first since 2011.

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Topics:
PGA Tour
Golf

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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