Ben Crane wins St. Jude Classic by one stroke
(Reuters) - Ben Crane became the first player in nine years to win a PGA Tour event without a birdie in the final round as he limped to a one-stroke victory at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis on Sunday.
Crane did just enough to secure his fifth tour title, carding a three-over-par 73 at the TPC Southwind.
He had the luxury of bogeying the final hole, tapping in from one foot to finish at 10-under 270, while fellow American Troy Merritt (71) claimed second place on nine-under.
Crane, 38, collected $1.044 million but the victory did not earn him a spot in the U.S. Open which starts on Thursday.
Still he was delighted to win again after changing his swing over the past year to help cope with a back problem.
"It's been a battle this year," he told CBS television. "I've changed a lot of stuff and I didn't know if I would get it back. This is a big surprise."
Crane, who led after every round, held a three-shot edge over Merritt after 54 holes and Merritt was the only player to exert any pressure in a final round devoid of drama.
Merritt, ranked 805th in the world, got within one stroke after nine holes, but did not pick up a birdie on the back nine.
Neither did Crane, who became the first player since Justin Leonard in 2005, also in Memphis, to win without a final round birdie. Continued...