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First alternate Crane misses out after trip to Hoylake

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HOYLAKE, England – No jetlag, no regrets.

Despite a journey that covered more than 4,700 miles, two connections and little sleep, Ben Crane was all smiles early Thursday morning at Royal Liverpool as he awaited his fate as the week’s first alternate at the Open Championship.

Crane received word that he had moved to first alternate late Tuesday afternoon as he was giving a lesson at Portland (Ore.) Golf Club and immediately started making his way to Hoylake.

“I get a phone call and it’s (manager Tommy Limbaugh), and I’m like, ‘I got to go, sorry,’” he told GolfChannel.com.

He arrived in London around 8 p.m. (GMT) and drove to Hoylake, arriving around 1 a.m. and his caddie was expected to make it to the course by 10 a.m.

It was an easy decision for Crane, who found himself in a similar position in 2012 when he moved to first alternate at Royal Lytham & St. Annes but was unable to travel from his home in Portland, Ore., in time to play the championship.


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“I saw his name (Michael Thompson, who was the first alternate in ’12 and made it into the event) and my stomach just balled up into a knot. How many chances do you get to play in the Open Championship and make history?” Crane said. “That was a heartbreaker.”

With each passing group Crane’s chances diminished and when the last threesome set out past 4 p.m. (GMT) he began the long trip back home. He planned to play nearby Wallasey Golf Club Thursday afternoon with his caddie and fly home to Portland Friday morning to prepare for next week’s RBC Canadian Open.

“I didn’t get into the Open but don’t regret the trip,” Crane tweeted. “This is a special tournament. (I) didn’t want to miss the opportunity if presented.”