Ben Crane beats bad weather for Memphis lead

Fri Jun 6, 2014 7:33pm EDT
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(Reuters) - American Ben Crane took a huge second round lead on Friday at the weather-plagued FedEx St. Jude Classic, which may not be completed until Monday, potentially delaying the arrival of several dozen players for the U.S. Open.

Only 32 players completed Friday's round before storms early in the afternoon dumped more than one inch of rain and flooded parts of the course, while strong winds knocked down some temporary fencing.

Officials scheduled the second round to resume at 7 a.m. local time on Saturday with Phil Mickelson among dozens of players who did not even start the round.

With a 50 percent chance of more storms on Saturday, there is a good chance the event will not finish on time on Sunday.

Forty-one players at the Memphis tournament are in the field for next week's major championship at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.

It would not be the first time a late Memphis finish spilled over into a U.S. Open week at Pinehurst. In 1999, 54 players, not all of whom were in the Open, had to complete the final round on Monday.

Crane did not make the U.S. Open field, but he is delighted to be playing, and playing well, after overcoming a worrying back injury last year.

He was the first to admit he was on the favorable end of the draw this week, playing in calm weather late Thursday and again early Friday, but that did not detract from the quality of his performance.

“It was a dream round of golf,” he told Golf Channel after following an opening 63 with a 65.   Continued...

Ben Crane of the U.S. tees off on the first hole during the final round of the Malaysia's Asia Pacific Classic golf tournament in Kuala Lumpur October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad