Sunday, May 27, 2018

Crane holds St. Jude lead; stormy weather keeps Mickelson off course

MEMPHIS — Ben Crane's back is okay, and his putter couldn't be working much better.

The combination helped him shoot a 5-under 65 on Friday to open a six-stroke lead in the St. Jude Classic before heavy rain delayed play twice and forced the suspension of play.

Crane birdied his final hole Thursday night for a 63 and rolled in a 44-footer for birdie to start the second round Friday morning, giving him a 12-under 128 total at TPC Southwind.

"I certainly didn't see this coming," Crane said. "But you know when you're putting well, I started to feel like I was a little more in control of my ball, just felt like I was tightening my draws and fades a little bit. I had access to some holes I haven't this year and so gosh, it's been an incredible two days."

Crane has spent the past six months changing his swing to protect his back. His last tour win came in 2011 at the McGladrey Classic.

"You start wondering, 'Am I going to get it back.' So this is super encouraging. My wife said last night, 'looks like you still got it.' Because you wonder. But anyway, it's been a fun start," Crane said.

Carl Pettersson and Jason Bohn were tied for second at 6 under. Pettersson had one hole left, and Bohn had two to play. Davis Love III (70) and Billy Horschel (68) were in at 5 under.

Friday got off to a slow start with 60 players needing to wrap up the first round, which was delayed on Thursday by storms. Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen were unable to start Friday's second round. Mickelson opened with 67 on Thursday, and Goosen had 66.

Lightning delayed afternoon play for 59 minutes before play resumed for 13 minutes. Mickelson had just gotten to the tee when the horn blew again and a severe thunderstorm drenched the course.

Play was suspended just before 5 p.m. Players are due back at 7 a.m. today so they can make the cut for the third round.

LPGA: Hee Young Park and Shanshan Feng shared the second round lead in the Manulife Financial Classic at Waterloo, Ontario. Park and Feng both shot 5-under 66 for 131 overall. Michelle Wie (67) is a stroke back.

CHAMPIONS: Russ Cochran and Kenny Perry teamed to birdie the final three holes to share the lead with Jeff Sluman and Fred Funk at 10-under 61 in the Legends of Golf at Ridgedale, Mo.