By Jay Betsill
Ben Crane took a three-stroke lead into the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic at the TPC Southwind in Memphis and, in spite of shooting a 3-over 73, he held on to win by one stroke over Troy Merritt. Crane’s fifth PGA Tour win and first since the 2011 McGladrey Classic that he won in a playoff over Webb Simpson, moved him up 109 spots in the FedEx Cup rankings to No. 41.
“I did not expect the hole to open up like that and just start making putts from everywhere,” said Crane about his opening round 63. “Just hit a lot of quality shots and obviously built a nice lead to start out with.”
Simpson and Ian Poulter were the big movers on Sunday at Memphis. While Simpson’s 4-under moved him into a tie for third and Poulter’s 6-under saw him go up 29 spots into a tie for sixth. Other notables in the field included Billy Horschel (T6, -7), Phil Mickelson (T11, -6), Rickie Fowler (T13, -5), Graeme McDowell (T24, -3), Dustin Johnson (T24, -3) and Retief Goosen (T32, -1). John Daly made the cut, but a pair of 76s on the weekend saw him finish 71st at 11-over.
Next up is the season’s second major, the U.S. Open at the newly restored Pinehurst No. 2.
— Jay Haas and Nick Price were selected as Presidents Cup captains for the 2015 matches in South Korea. Haas basically reverses roles with Fred Couples, who was captain of the U.S. team the past three matches. The Presidents Cup will be Oct. 8-11, 2015 at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea.
— Steven Alker won the Cleveland Open on a Web.com Tour record 11th playoff hole over Dawie van der Walt. He earned $108,000 to jump from 102nd to 12th on the Web.com Tour money list with $125,180.
— Inbee Park won the Manulife Financial Classic for her first LPGA Tour title in just under a year. Park tied the course record with a 10-under 61 on Sunday for a three shot win over Christie Kerr.
“Obviously, with the U.S. Open in two weeks, I think is a great confidence boost,” Park said. “I think it’s great timing.”