5 Things: Crane holds on for victory in Memphis
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Ben Crane notched his fifth career PGA Tour victory and first since 2011 by capturing the FedEx St. Jude Classic Sunday.
Crane played 30 holes Sunday after weather delays pushed back the completion of the third round into the fourth day. He finished at 10 under, closing with 3-over 73 at TPC Southwind to edge runner-up Troy Merritt by a shot. Webb Simpson and Matt Every tied for third at 8 under.
Here are 5 Things you need to know from Sunday's action in Memphis:
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1. CRANE HOLDS ON: Ben Crane played his last 29 holes without a birdie, but was still able to hang on for a one-shot victory at TPC Southwind.
Crane chipped in for birdie at the par-4 seventh, the seventh hole of his third round, to move to 14 under. But that turned out to be his last birdie of the tournament. Crane made four bogeys after that, including three in his final round. His last bogey came at his final hole, the par-4 18th, but it didn't matter.
Merritt, who trailed by three shots after three rounds, never pulled even with Crane and finished with a final-round 71.
Crane's victory is his first since the 2011 McGladrey Classic. It also marks his second top-10 finish in 17 starts this season. He entered the week having missed five of seven cuts.
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2. LEFTY'S TOP-10 DROUGHT CONTINUES: Phil Mickelson will enter next week's U.S. Open still without a top-10 finish this season.
Mickelson tied for 11th in Memphis, shooting 2-over 72 in the final round to finish at 6 under. Trying to start strong, Mickelson couldn't get anything going early. He bogeyed the par-5 third hole after finding the water with his second shot. He made just two birdies in his final round.
Six times a runner-up at the U.S. Open, Mickelson said Saturday his form was "close enough" to where it needed to be for next week at Pinehurst. But it's still hard to ignore the fact that Mickelson is without a top 10 this late in the season.
He now has seven top-20 finishes in 14 starts, but no finishes better than T-11.
"The way I drove the ball last two rounds I had an opportunity to shoot really low," Mickelson said. "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."
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3. OPEN DOOR SHUTS: For the players who were hoping to play their way into the top 60 of the Official World Golf Ranking and earn a trip to Pinehurst, their U.S. Open hopes were dashed Sunday in Memphis.
Chesson Hadley, who entered the week 66th in the OWGR and needing a T-4 finish or better to enter the top 60, finished T-13 at 5 under, three shots back of a share for third place.
Also falling short were No. 68 Charles Howell III (T-28), No. 76 Scott Stallings (T-32) and No. 79 Freddie Jacobson (T-60). No. 74 Thorbjorn Olesen missed the cut.
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4. JUST IN TIME: There's nothing like a little confidence booster entering a major championship.
Webb Simpson and Ian Poulter each notched their first top-10 finish in months Sunday in Memphis. Simpson finished T-3 at 8 under and Poulter tied for sixth at 7 under, both gaining momentum just in time for next week's U.S. Open at Pinehurst.
Simpson began the season with five top-10 finishes, including a victory, in his first seven starts. In his next six starts, though, he missed three cuts and didn't finish better than T-38. Now, the 2012 U.S. Open champion will head to Pinehurst coming off his best finish since he tied for third at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January.
Poulter began his season with a runner-up finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions in November, but hadn't finished better than T-20 in nine Tour starts since – he did tie for fifth at the European Tour's Volvo China Open in April. His final-round 6-under 64 was his best closing round of the season.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Troy Merritt, who entered the week having made just three cuts in 12 Tour starts, finished runner-up to notch his best career finish on the PGA Tour. His previous best finish was a solo third at the 2010 Zurich Classic. . . . Matt Every, who had four missed cuts and a WD in six starts entering the FedEx St. Jude Classic, notched his first top-10 finish since his victory at Bay Hill. Every finished T-3 at 8-under 272. . . . Rickie Fowler finished with three straight rounds in the 60s, closing with a 69 and ending up in a tie for 13th at 5 under. He still hasn't notched a top-10 finish on Tour since tying for fifth at the Masters.