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SPORTS ARENA

 

BEN CRANE WINS 2014 FEDEX ST. JUDE CLASSIC BY ONE STROKE

 

By William M. Larsha, Jr., Columnist/Sports Reporter

for the

The Mid-South Tribune and the Black Information Highway

MEMPHIS, TN June 8, 2014- The annual FedEx St. Jude Golf Classic was held in Memphis, TN from June 5-8, 2014 at the Tournament Players Club at Southwind.  Ben Crane won the event by one stroke with a score of -10. Troy Merrit finished second at -9. It was all about the start for Crane who jumped out of the pack by shooting a 7 under par 63 in Thursday's first round. Crane got a bit of luck as well. After his first round, the event experienced the first of several weather delays due to storms in the area all weekend. 

 

Most players did not finish their first rounds Thursday and had to play early Friday to do so. There were more delays on Friday and Saturday causing several rounds to be split. Crane's first round score held up until Sunday as he led from start to finish. Sunday Crane had to play 12 holes to finish his third round and the 18 more for the final round. The event organizers did a tremendous job of making sure the tournament finished Sunday on schedule. It has not been shortened in 57 years.

 

Crane shot a final round 3 over par 73 to seal the victory. It was his first PGA tour win since 2011 as he underwent swing changes due to back problems that nearly forced him out of golf. He gave much of the credit for the win to his start. "I did not expect the hole to open up like that and just start making putts from everywhere," Crane said. "Just hit a lot of quality shots and obviously built a nice lead to start out with."

 

Crowd favorite Phil Mickelson tried to put some heat on Crane on Sunday, but fell short with some disappointing play. He tied for 11th at 6 under par after getting it to 8 under earlier. "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."

 

The players now head to the U.S. Open at Pinehurst for the season's second major.