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Crane lands among leaders early on Day 1

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AKRON, Ohio – Ben Crane climbed onto the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational leaderboard Thursday, thanks in part to Phil Mickelson.

One day earlier, Crane teamed with Mickelson to defeat Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson in a practice-round match at Firestone Country Club.

“It was a super fun group,” Crane said. “Phil has helped me. I spent some time with him a few weeks ago, and we spent some time together, and he's helped me and encouraged me. He was calling himself the golf whisperer out there, helping me some with some shots and stuff.”

The golf whisperer helped his Wednesday partner open with a 4-under 66 – and Crane couldn’t have been more thankful afterward.

“I just kind of presented what my mental coach and I were working on and he kind of helped me boil it down a little bit and refine it,” he said. “We had a good time with it, and then I had the opportunity to play yesterday and talk a little more about it. It's been good. Just trying to simplify everything and take the thoughts and go, this is what we're trying to do.”