Crane Leads By One in Arizona


Ben Crane ran in a five-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Saturday to shoot a 7-under 64 and grab a one-shot lead over Bo Van Pelt after three rounds of the Buy.Com Gila River Classic.
Crane stands at 20-under-par 193 and continues his battle with Van Pelt, whom he has shared the lead with throughout the course of the tournament.
'I did notice what Bo was doing, but this isn't between Bo and me,' said Crane. 'It's about doing my best. I don't care about the scoreboard. I have to play my game and whatever is meant to happen, will happen.'
Crane made three birdie putts of less than three feet at three, six and eight. He parred the first four holes on the back nine Saturday but drained a 12-foot birdie at No. 14.
At 16, Crane made a 14-foot birdie at the 16th and tied Van Pelt with a 10-foot birdie on the 17th. At the closing hole, he rolled home his five-footer to take sole possession of first.
Crane was at 20-under after three rounds last year at the Wichita Open and he posted a 5-under 67 on Sunday to win the event at 25-under, the second lowest total in relation to par in Buy.Com Tour history.
'I do have some similar feelings in that I'm spiritually in a good place right now and content,' said Crane, in reference to the similarities to this event and Wichita. 'The same way I was when I won. I just feel better about my golf game this week. I worked with my coach about a month ago, and we found something that has clicked.'
Van Pelt birdied three of his first four holes on Saturday to take an early lead but a double-bogey at the 9th dropped him from the top. He rebounded with four birdies on his last nine to close within one.
'I didn't drive it well today,' said Van Pelt, who stands 23rd on the money list and could crack the top-15 and return to the PGA Tour with a win on Sunday. 'I wasn't real happy with the way I hit it. I putted the ball better, though. I didn't miss any putts that I thought I should have made.'
Todd Fischer is alone in third place at 17-under par followed by Jason Caron at minus-16.