Crane holds lead at weather-hit St Jude

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Crane Jun 8 AFP Ben Crane watches his tee shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the Jude Classic. He clung to a four-shot lead after play was halted due to poor weather. Photo: Christian Petersen

Memphis – Ben Crane held a four-shot lead over the field when the third round of the US PGA Tour’s St Jude Classic was suspended on Saturday evening due to poor weather conditions.

American Crane stood at 13-under-par overall and he was one-under through six holes of round three at the TPC at Southwind course.

The $5.8 million event has been hit by poor weather all three days so far.

On Saturday, the beginning of play was delayed by one hour due to fog, and later suspended. The third round was scheduled to resume early Sunday.

Crane, making his 300th career PGA Tour start, is seeking his first victory since The McGladrey Classic in 2011.

His best finish this season is a tie for ninth at the Humana Challenge in January.

Crane opened his third round with a birdie on the first and then made par on the next five holes. Crane missed the seventh green with his approach before play was stopped.

“I got to the first hole, hit a good putt and I’m thankful it hit the hole because they rolled them between rounds, but didn’t have time to cut them. They’re fast,” said Crane.

“The course is playing pretty windy and so conditions are tough right now.”

Troy Merritt was two-under-par through seven holes and had moved into second place at nine-under. Peter Malnati was minus-one after seven holes and stood at eight-under-par.

Billy Horschel, Retief Goosen and Camilo Villegas are tied for fourth place at seven under. Horschel was two-under through eight holes, while Goosen and Villegas were one-over after a half dozen holes.

Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t won in 19 straight events dating to the British Open, had pars on each of his first nine holes and was at five-under.

Unsettled weather in the region meant that more delays were still a possibility, but the goal was still to complete 72 holes by nightfall on Sunday.

That’s especially important for those who will be eager to get to Pinehurst and begin practicing for the second major championship of the year, which starts on Thursday. – Sapa-AFP



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