Crane Clubhouse Leader In Milwaukee


US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE -- Scott Verplank held the clubhouse lead for a while, but Ben Crane was too good again.
Crane continued to impress with a 5-under-par 65 Friday, putting together his second bogey-free round in as many days to claim the second-round lead at the U.S. Bank Championship.
After finishing one shot off the course record with an 8-under 62 on Thursday, Crane completed his second round before play was suspended due to darkness. He stands at 13-under-par 127, two strokes clear of Verplank and Jeff Sluman at Brown Deer Park Golf Course.
Verplank was one of 93 golfers who completed their first round Friday after nasty weather -- including lightning and high winds -- forced lengthy delays and an eventual suspension of play on Thursday. He fired a 5-under 65 in the second round and was 10 under on the 32 holes he played Friday.
Sluman, who was one of the lucky few to complete his first round Thursday, didn't have the same luck Friday. Play was suspended before he could complete his second round, and he is 5-under through 17 holes to stand at 11 under overall.
Tommy Armour III, Chris Smith and Brad Faxon are one stroke further back at 9-under-par. Faxon has three holes remaining on his second round.
Kenny Perry is through two rounds and sits alone in fourth place at 8-under-par 132. He shot a 1-under 69 in his second round Friday.
Verplank was in the clubhouse with the lead when Crane birdied three of his first five holes Friday to reach 11 under. He strung together seven straight pars after that before a birdie on the par-4 13th gave him the lead again.
The 29-year-old Crane, who is looking for his second career PGA Tour victory, collected his fifth birdie of the day at No. 15 to move to 13 under. He then finished off his round with three straight pars.
Verplank began his second round on the back-nine, and after a birdie at No. 13 -- his fourth hole of the round -- he stumbled to consecutive bogeys at the par-3 14th and the par-5 15th.
But Verplank strung together three straight birdies after that to make the turn at 8 under. Then, at the par-3 third, he fired a 6-iron within 10 feet to set up yet another birdie.
'That was kind of just a three-quarter 6-iron, and obviously it was the right club,' Verplank said.
The 19-year professional then collected two more birdies at the par-3 fifth and the par-5 sixth, where he rolled in a downhill left-to-right putt to reach 11 under.
'I was very pleased with that was actually a tough little downhiller,' said Verplank. 'You'd rather have uphill all day and I hit a nice little putt there, so I was really happy with that.'
Verplank dropped a stroke with a bogey at No. 8, but he finished his round with another birdie at the par-4 ninth -- his eighth birdie of the round.
'I think I took a little sigh of relief that I was done,' admitted Verplank.
The 41-year-old Verplank hasn't won on tour since the 2001 Bell Canadian Open. His best finish this year is a second-place tie at The Players Championship.
'I think I've played good for three and a half days a couple of times,' he said. 'Really, I think I need to just keep doing the things I'm doing.'
The 47-year-old Sluman, who fired a 6-under-par 64 in the first round, mixed in five birdies and an eagle with two bogeys Friday. He has six career PGA Tour victories.
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