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Ben Crane wins St. Jude Classic

Ben Crane hugs caddie Joel Stock after a one-stroke victory in the St. Jude Classic.

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Ben Crane hugs caddie Joel Stock after a one-stroke victory in the St. Jude Classic.

MEMPHIS — Ben Crane estimates he slept less than three hours in a night spent praying and thanking God that his game finally has come back around.

Then he played 30 holes Sunday in winning the St. Jude Classic for his first PGA Tour title since 2011, setting off a celebration that included hugging his caddie and high-fiving a reporter. Crane also choked back tears as he looked at text messages filling his phone.

"Oh my gosh, it just keeps going," Crane said, looking at his phone. "How many can a phone hold? This is so much fun."

Crane closed with 3-over 73 for a one-stroke victory, going wire to wire for his fifth career victory. Rain delays forced him into the marathon session Sunday at TPC Southwind, finishing 12 holes in the morning in a third-round 69 to take a three-shot lead into the final round.

He two-putted for bogey on the final hole to finish at 10-under 270, days after failing to qualify for the U.S. Open. That marked a low point for the 38-year-old who spent the past six months reworking his swing to protect his back.

"I did not expect the hole to open up like that and just start making putts from everywhere," Crane said.

Troy Merritt was second after 71. Webb Simpson (65), Matt Every (70) and Carl Pettersson (69) were 8 under.

Phil Mickelson, tuning up for the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, left winless in his 20th event since the British Open. He tied for 11th at 6 under after 72.

Consecutive birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 put Mickelson at 8 under. But he bogeyed the next two, including the par-3 14th where he hit a 7-iron into the water in front of the green.

"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. But the game is not far off."

LPGA: Inbee Park won the Manulife Financial Classic for her first tour title in more than 11 months, matching the course record with 10-under 61 in Waterloo, Ontario. Cristie Kerr was three back. A week after losing the top spot in the world ranking to Stacy Lewis, Park finished at 23-under 261. "Definitely a little bit pressure off of me," Park said. "I think I needed a little bit of motivation. … This week, I needed to step it up a little bit." Shanshan Feng, two strokes ahead of Park and Michelle Wie entering the round, shot 68 to finish third.

champions: Jeff Sluman and Fred Funk teamed to win the Legends of Golf, and Jim Colbert and Jim Thorpe topped the Legends Division for players 65 and older in Ridgedale, Mo. Sluman and Funk finished with 6-under 48 at rainy Top of the Rock, the first par-3 course used in a tour-sanctioned event, to beat Jay Haas and Peter Jacobsen by a stroke. Sluman holed a 6-foot par putt for the victory on the final hole.

Ben Crane wins St. Jude Classic 06/08/14 [Last modified: Sunday, June 8, 2014 10:32pm]
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