Ben Crane led the Farmers Insurance Open field in hitting reens in regulation, and steady putting sealed his victory.
Hot putter early in the final round sets up third victory over three challengers
LA JOLLA, CALIF. | Ben Crane made what seemed
to his competitors like miles of putts in the early
part of the final round, but in the end, the Farmers Insurance Open came down to who could hole
the short putts late in the day on the treacherous
Torrey Pines greens.
Crane made a two-and-a-half footer for par
on the 18th hole on Sunday to win his first PGA
Tour title in more than four years with a one-shot
victory over a trio of challengers — none of whom
was absent six-time champion Tiger Woods.
Crane, 33, won his third PGA Tour title and
earned a trip to the Masters in April. Ironically,
Crane’s other two victories — the 2005 U.S. Bank
Championship in Milwaukee and the 2003 Bell-South Classic — are no longer on the PGA Tour
schedule. Crane shot a 2-under 70 on the final
day for a 13-under-par total of 275.
Michael Sim, an Australian rookie, had the best
chance to chase Crane down, but inexplicably laid
up on the par- 5 18th hole at Torrey Pines when he
had 243 yards to the green on his second shot.
One shot behind on the final hole, Sim’s
wedge third shot spun off the green, leaving
him a chip shot for birdie that he left short. Sim
ended Sunday with a 1-under 71 and a 276 total,
matched by Brandt Snedeker and fellow Australian Mark Leishman, each of whom had a birdie
putt on the final hole that would have tied Crane.
Leishman birdied two of his final three holes for a
4-under 68 and Snedeker finished with a 69.
Two shots ahead with two holes to play, Crane
three-putted the par- 4 17th for bogey to trim
his lead to one. Sim, Nationwide Tour Player of
the Year in 2009, narrowly missed a 12-footer
for birdie that would have tied the lead. Crane
routinely played the 18th, two-putting from the
fringe for the victory.
FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN