Ben Comes Up Big to Win BellSouth

By Sports NetworkApril 6, 2003, 4:00 pm
DULUTH, Ga. -- Ben Crane fired a 9-under 63 Sunday to come from behind and win the BellSouth Classic by four strokes. Crane finished the tournament at 16-under-par 272 for his first career victory on the PGA Tour.
Crane earned his maiden title in impressive fashion. After surviving the 36-hole cut, the former University of Oregon standout played the weekend at 17-under par, and his final round matched the course record at the TPC at Sugarloaf.
'We always talk about winning,' said Crane. 'And when you win, something special has to happen to you.'
The 27-year-old was six shots back to start the day and picked up a birdie at the first. Crane birdied the sixth and drained a 60-foot putt for a birdie at the eighth. He struggled with a bogey at the ninth, however, to make the turn at 9-under.
Crane came right back with a birdie at the 10th and hit his tee shot to 12 feet at the par-3 11th to make it two in a row. He two-putted for birdie from off the green at the par-4 13th and joined Tway in the lead with a birdie at the 15th.
At the par-3 16th, Crane landed his tee ball within 20 feet of the cup and ran home the putt to take sole possession of first place.
Crane carried a two-shot lead onto the 18th tee and capped his round with a bang. He eagled the par-5 last and left nothing in doubt as to who would be raising the trophy on Sunday.
'I worked so hard not to look at the leaderboard all day,' said Crane. 'I kind of wanted to have an idea of what to do on 18 going into the hole, and believe it or not I looked at my caddie and I said, 'What do you think?' He said, ''Well, if you make a par, I think we're all right.' So I just stepped up there and ripped a driver and it went all the way down to the bottom.'
In addition to taking home a $720,000 first-place prize, Crane earned entries into the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
'I am so thankful,' said Crane, who became the first first-time winner on tour in 2003. 'I played great today. I figured if I went low, I would have a chance and it happened. I'm a little numb.'
Tway, who was looking for his first PGA Tour victory since 1995, held the lead for most of the round after overcoming a two-shot deficit to overnight leader Lee Janzen.
Tway played well early and stood four shots clear of the field at one point, thanks to a stretch of three consecutive birdies starting at the fourth. He found trouble with a bogey at the eighth, but managed to counter with a birdie at the very next hole.
The 43-year-old wilted down the stretch, however, with two bogeys on the back side en route to a 71. Tway, who won this event in 1986, finished alone in second at 12-under-par 276.
'I played very well this week. I'm extremely happy with that. The only problem with it is not winning,' said Tway. 'I'll just have to build on this and if I continue doing what I have been doing, I believe I'll get there.'
Last year's champion, Retief Goosen, shot a 7-under 65 to finish one shot further back at 11-under-par 277 along with Jay Williamson and Hank Kuehne.
John Rollins, Stewart Cink and Tom Pernice, Jr., tied for sixth at 10-under-par 278. First-round leader Chris DiMarco was joined by Paul Lawrie, Brenden Pappas and J.J. Henry at 9-under-par 279.
Janzen had a disappointing round of 77 to finish eight shots back in a group at 8-under-par 280. The two-time U.S. Open champion was joined by Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland, Skip Kendall, Esteban Toledo and Billy Andrade in a tie for 13th.
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.