Memphis, Tenn. – After a grueling 30 holes on Sunday, Oregon men’s golf alum Ben Crane emerged victorious at the FedEx St. Jude Classic by just one stroke over Troy Merritt. Crane notched his fifth PGA title with a final card of 10-under 270.
This marks the first time the former Duck has notched a PGA Tour victory since winning The McGladrey Classic in 2011.
“Wow, am I glad to be here,” Crane said as he sat down for the post-tournament press conference.
The win was extra special for Crane, who shared it with his longtime caddie and UO teammate, Joel Stock.
Crane said having Stock with him was “very important,” as he began to tear up in front of reporters.
“He’s unbelievable. I wouldn’t be here without him. He believed in me when I certainly didn’t believe in myself. Many times I just felt like calling it a year, and he stayed so positive through it all. Never anything negative, just always so positive. … I mean, what’s that worth?”
Things started off well for the UO alum, who shot a low round of 63 on Thursday, June 5, before following up with a 65 the very next day.
With weather suspending play on Saturday at TPC Southwind, Crane’s third round was cut short after six holes with a four-stroke lead over second-place Merritt.
From the restart and on, Crane and Merritt battled back-and-forth for the top spot. The par-4 15th hole, however, proved to be the deciding hole for Merritt who provided Crane a much needed two-stroke lead after putting his tee shot into the rough.
Crane had hit eight straight pars before two-putting from 12 feet out on the par-4 18th hole for bogey. But he held out for the one-stroke victory thanks to Merritt’s bogey on 15.
Crane was a four-year letterman (1996-99) at Oregon and led the Ducks to four straight NCAA Regional appearances, including a pair of NCAA Championship appearances in 1998-99. Crane was the low scorer for Oregon at the regionals for three consecutive years (1997-99). He also was the first individual qualifier in UO history at the championships and one of only two Duck golfers to do so, with Gregg LoVoie the only other Duck to do such in 2005.
Crane turned pro after graduating from Oregon and made his PGA debut in 2002. His first PGA Tour victory came in 2003 at the BellSouth Classic, followed by wins at the U.S. Bank Championships (2005), Farmers Insurance Open (2010) and The McGladrey Classic (2011).
NOTES: Crane is just the eighth player in the event’s history to win after having at least a share of the lead after every round…Lee Westwood was the last golfer to do such in 2010.