SAN DIEGO — Ben Crane is back in the news for all the right reasons.
In December a gossip magazine quoted him as saying that Tiger Woods was a "phony and fake," though Crane had never spoken to Life & Style and had not given interviews in months.
He handled that situation with the same even hand he displayed Sunday at Torrey Pines, where Crane overcame a two-shot deficit and hung on for a 2-under 70 and a one-shot victory in the Farmers Insurance Open.
"Obviously, being in the news a month ago was bizarre," Crane said. "It's good to be (in the news) on a good note."
Then he smiled: "And you can quote me on that."
Crane made two birdie putts longer than 45 feet to seize control, then missed two short par putts to keep alive the hopes of Michael Sim, Brandt Snedeker and Marc Leishman.
But he pulled it out. And Crane wasn't even keeping score. He had pledged not to look at a leaderboard all day. So when he rapped in a 30-inch par putt, Crane didn't realize he had won until Tampa's Ryuji Imada, who led after three rounds, congratulated him.
"Did I win?" Crane asked.
Crane finished at 13-under 275 for his third career victory, ending an 0-98 drought and earning a return trip to the Masters in April and Kapalua next January. He likely will crack the top 60 in the world, which should be enough to put him in the Match Play Championship.
Imada shot 75 to tie for ninth at 278, winning $127,200.
Phil Mickelson, four shots behind entering Sunday, bogeyed his first three holes and shot 73 to finish 19th.
Robert Allenby made a charge only to fall back by losing five shots in four holes.
"I didn't feel I played as bad as the score reflected," Mickelson said. "I feel my game is coming around. I was really excited about playing here. Maybe I was a little anxious. My timing was a little off this week."
Nationwide: Robert Gates became the 13th player to win his Nationwide Tour debut, closing with 2-over 74 for a one-stroke victory in the season-opening New Zealand Open at Queenstown. Andrew Dodt was second. Gates, a former Texas A&M player who played the Canadian Tour last year, totaled 14-under 274 in the event also sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia.
european: Robert Karlsson shot 7-under 65 to win the Qatar Masters by three strokes in Doha. He totaled 15-under 273. Alvaro Quiros was second.