Hot start reminds Crane of beating Woods in '02


IRVING, Texas – On Wednesday, Ben Crane celebrated his 14th wedding anniversary by taking a stroll down memory lane, an emotional journey that included his first start at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

“We went through and made all 14 years of highlights of all the years because 14 years ago I finished second here to Shigeki [Maruyama] and Tiger Woods - I don't know if you had heard of him - finished third,” joked Crane, who beat Woods by two strokes in ’02. “Kicked his tail. That's one time in my career.”

Those memories helped inspire Crane on Thursday to an opening-round 65 and an early share of second place at what used to be his hometown event.

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It’s been a trying season for Crane, who is fresh off back-to-back missed cuts, doesn’t have a top-10 finish in 17 starts, and failed to qualify for last week’s Players for the first time since 2007.

“It's my favorite tournament, just love that tournament and just had a pit in my stomach when I woke up Thursday morning, didn't really know why and realized because I'm not at The Players this week,” said Crane, who was bogey-free in Round 1 at the Nelson.