Crane completes 17-under-par weekend to win first title

By Phil Casey,Georgia
Thursday 16 January 2014 04:10
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Ben Crane, who only just survived the halfway cut, claimed his first US Tour title yesterday when he equalled the course record of 63 in his final round to add to a 64 the previous day to win the BellSouth Classic here.

Crane, whose previous claim to fame was being voted the slowest player on the Tour by his fellow professionals, finished on 16-under-par 272 after an eagle at the last brought him home in 29. He was 17 under for his last two rounds, having had birdies on five of his last seven holes on Saturday in his 64.

Bob Tway, the former USPGA champion who led by four shots at one stage in the final round, was four shots back in second place with Retief Goosen, the former US Open champion, a shot further adrift after a 65 in joint third alongside the American duo Jay Williamson and Hank Kuehne. At least Goosen's round put him in good heart for the Masters next week when he attempts to go one better than last year when he finished as the runner-up behind Tiger Woods.

The overnight leader, Lee Janzen, stumbled to a closing 77 to finish in a tie for 13th, going from six ahead of Crane to eight shots behind.

Crane, in only his second year on the tour, said: "I've been struggling on the weekends, making a lot of cuts but not making a move on the weekend, but I played fantastic on Saturday and I was able to get hot with my putter and that's what carried the momentum through the last two rounds.

"I never looked at the leaderboards but after I played the 14th someone shouted out that I was only one behind. Then after I finished on the 17th I had a look at the leaderboard because I wanted to know what I needed to do on the last. My caddie said just make a par and we'll be all right."

In fact Crane hit a drive 357 yards to set up a closing eagle to seal victory and the $720,000 (£462,000) first prize.

Paul Lawrie, the former Open champion, hit a birdie at the last to finish with a 68 for a nine-under-par total of 279. Bristol's John E Morgan carded a final round of 72 to finish one under par for the tournament, alongside France's Thomas Levet and the Swede Jesper Parnevik.

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