Crane leads suspended St. Jude Classic
Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Ben Crane fired a 7-under 63 on Thursday to grab the lead of the FedEx St. Jude Classic prior to play being suspended for darkness.
There was a 3 hour and 30 minute rain delay earlier in the day, causing the eventual suspension. The first round will resume at 8:00 a.m. ET, with the second round scheduled to start at 8:40.
Peter Malnati was also able to finish his opening round at Tournament Players Club at Southwind and carded a 5-under 65 to share second place with Billy Horschel, who was through 16 holes.
Retief Goosen and Joe Durant shot 4-under 66s to sit in a tie with Stuart Appleby, Zach Johnson and Jason Bohn for fourth. Appleby was on the 18th hole when play was halted, while Johnson was through 15 holes and Bohn completed 14.
Phil Mickelson headlined a group of seven players to card a 3-under 67 and sit in a tie for ninth place. He was joined by Freddie Jacobson, Brooks Koepka, Troy Merritt, Hudson Swafford, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Luke Guthrie.
Crane started his bogey-free round on the back nine and parred the 10th before rolling in a 14-foot birdie at the 11th.
After parring his next four holes, he stuck his third shot at the par-5 16th to three feet and converted that birdie to move to 2-under.
He later converted three straight birdies from the first to move to minus-5 and later capped his round with back-to-back birdies at the eighth and ninth, including a 27-foot putt at the ninth.
"I hit some shots close, I made some long putts and I made some great par saves," said Crane. "It was kind of mix and match today, but really they all went in and I played awesome. I'm very encouraged."
Malnati had earlier started on the 10th tee and opened his day with a 12-foot birdie putt.
Three straight birdies from the 14th jumped him to 4-under, but he snapped the run with a bogey at the 17th. He would par his next seven holes before starting a pair of birdies with a 23-foot putt at the seventh.
He parred the ninth to end at minus-5 and claim the clubhouse lead.
"I rolled the ball well. I've been putting well. That's always been a strength of my game and this year it has been really, really cold," Malnati said. "It's about time for it to heat up."
Horschel countered a lone bogey with four birdies and an eagle to pull within two shots of the lead prior to play being suspended.
NOTES: There are 60 players who need to complete their first round ... This week marks Phil Mickelson's 500th start on the PGA Tour, including amateur starts ... Appleby recorded a hole-in-one at the eighth hole ... This is the 16th event of the season to experience a delay or suspension due to weather or darkness ... Crane is seeking his first victory since the 2011 McGladrey Classic ... Defending champion Harris English carded a 3-over 73 on Thursday and is tied for 122nd place.
06/05 22:42:21 ET