Crane Seeking Wire-To-Wire Win

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2005, 4:00 pm
US Bank Championship in MilwaukeeMILWAUKEE -- Ben Crane fired a 6-under 64 Saturday to maintain the lead at the U.S. Bank Championship -- his first career lead after 54 holes.
 
Crane stands at 19-under-par 191 through three rounds, two strokes clear of Scott Verplank at soggy Brown Deer Park Golf Course.
 
His 191 is the lowest 54-hole total on the PGA Tour in 2005, besting Kenny Perry's 192 in his victory at the Bank of America Colonial. The 191 total is also one shy of the tournament record of 20-under-par 190, established by Jeff Sluman when he won in 2002.
 
Crane stumbled to a pair of bogeys Saturday -- his first of the tournament -- but he mixed in eight birdies to hold the lead for the third straight round. He is in position to become just the second wire-to-wire winner of this event if he can nail down his second career PGA Tour victory Sunday.
 
Ed Snead was the only other wire-to-wire winner of the tournament, turning the trick in 1974 at Tuckaway Country Club, where he beat runner-up Grier Jones by four strokes.
 
Third-round play was suspended for more than 3 1/2 hours Saturday as severe weather settled in on the Milwaukee area around 4:30 p.m. (ET), adding another soggy day to a tournament that has been besieged by bad weather.
 
The second round wasn't completed until early in the morning -- a logjam created by Thursday's bad weather and the eventual suspension of the first round. The cut was set at minus-2 with 77 players making it to the third round.
 
Perry and Chris Smith share third place at 14-under-par 196, with Sluman two strokes further back at minus-12. A group of seven golfers sit one stroke behind that at 11 under.
 
Sluman was among those who finished their second round in the morning. After play was suspended as he waited to tee off on his final hole Friday, Sluman woke up early to play one hole and then waited almost five hours before beginning his third round.
 
That was something that Crane, who hurried to finish his round Friday, hasn't had to worry about. The 29-year-old has completed all three of his rounds during their scheduled days.
 
After a birdie at the par-3 third, Crane stumbled to his first bogey of the tournament at No. 4. But he collected three more birdies of the next five holes to make the turn at 16 under.
 
Crane dropped a stroke with a bogey at the par-3 11th, briefly falling to 15 under before collecting a birdie and a par to get back to 16 under by the time play was suspended.
 
After the nearly four-hour stoppage, Crane continued his assault on the course. Consecutive birdies at the 15th and 16th moved him to 18 under, and after a par at No. 17, he dropped in his eighth birdie of the round at the par-5 18th.
 
Verplank, who is seeking his first PGA Tour win since the 2001 Bell Canadian Open, stumbled to a bogey on his first hole of the third round. That dropped him to 10-under, but the 41-year-old collected birdies on four of the next eight holes to make the turn at 14 under.
 
After collecting a par at the 10th, Verplank birdied Nos. 11 and 12 to tie Crane for the lead as the bad weather approached. He gained one more shot after the delay with a birdie at the par-5 18th -- his seventh birdie of the day, which gave him his second 64 of the tournament.
 
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    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


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    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.