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Ben Comes Up Big to Win BellSouth

DULUTH, Ga. -- Ben Crane fired a 9-under 63 Sunday to come from behind and win the BellSouth Classic by four strokes. Crane finished the tournament at 16-under-par 272 for his first career victory on the PGA Tour.
Crane earned his maiden title in impressive fashion. After surviving the 36-hole cut, the former University of Oregon standout played the weekend at 17-under par, and his final round matched the course record at the TPC at Sugarloaf.
'We always talk about winning,' said Crane. 'And when you win, something special has to happen to you.'
The 27-year-old was six shots back to start the day and picked up a birdie at the first. Crane birdied the sixth and drained a 60-foot putt for a birdie at the eighth. He struggled with a bogey at the ninth, however, to make the turn at 9-under.
Crane came right back with a birdie at the 10th and hit his tee shot to 12 feet at the par-3 11th to make it two in a row. He two-putted for birdie from off the green at the par-4 13th and joined Tway in the lead with a birdie at the 15th.
At the par-3 16th, Crane landed his tee ball within 20 feet of the cup and ran home the putt to take sole possession of first place.
Crane carried a two-shot lead onto the 18th tee and capped his round with a bang. He eagled the par-5 last and left nothing in doubt as to who would be raising the trophy on Sunday.
'I worked so hard not to look at the leaderboard all day,' said Crane. 'I kind of wanted to have an idea of what to do on 18 going into the hole, and believe it or not I looked at my caddie and I said, 'What do you think?' He said, ''Well, if you make a par, I think we're all right.' So I just stepped up there and ripped a driver and it went all the way down to the bottom.'
In addition to taking home a $720,000 first-place prize, Crane earned entries into the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
'I am so thankful,' said Crane, who became the first first-time winner on tour in 2003. 'I played great today. I figured if I went low, I would have a chance and it happened. I'm a little numb.'
Tway, who was looking for his first PGA Tour victory since 1995, held the lead for most of the round after overcoming a two-shot deficit to overnight leader Lee Janzen.
Tway played well early and stood four shots clear of the field at one point, thanks to a stretch of three consecutive birdies starting at the fourth. He found trouble with a bogey at the eighth, but managed to counter with a birdie at the very next hole.
The 43-year-old wilted down the stretch, however, with two bogeys on the back side en route to a 71. Tway, who won this event in 1986, finished alone in second at 12-under-par 276.
'I played very well this week. I'm extremely happy with that. The only problem with it is not winning,' said Tway. 'I'll just have to build on this and if I continue doing what I have been doing, I believe I'll get there.'
Last year's champion, Retief Goosen, shot a 7-under 65 to finish one shot further back at 11-under-par 277 along with Jay Williamson and Hank Kuehne.
John Rollins, Stewart Cink and Tom Pernice, Jr., tied for sixth at 10-under-par 278. First-round leader Chris DiMarco was joined by Paul Lawrie, Brenden Pappas and J.J. Henry at 9-under-par 279.
Janzen had a disappointing round of 77 to finish eight shots back in a group at 8-under-par 280. The two-time U.S. Open champion was joined by Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland, Skip Kendall, Esteban Toledo and Billy Andrade in a tie for 13th.
Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the BellSouth Classic
  • Full coverage of the BellSouth Classic