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September 24, 2017

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Crane holds on for PGA St. Jude crown

MEMPHIS, Tennessee--Ben Crane fought to a three-over 73 in the final round of the St. Jude Classic but emerged from a marathon Sunday with his first U.S. PGA Tour title since 2011.

Crane's 10-under total of 270 gave him a one-stroke victory over fellow American Troy Merritt, who closed with a one-over 71 at TPC Southwind.

"What a battle," said Crane, who became the first player since 2005 to win a U.S. PGA Tour title without notching a birdie in the final round.

"All those putts that were going in the last couple days, today it was a little tougher to come by. I hit a lot of good putts, but the course is playing a little tougher."

Crane had completed a one-under 69 earlier Sunday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round, after weather delays on Thursday, Friday and Saturday had left the US$5.8 million tournament behind schedule.

Former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson carded a fourth-round 66 to join Matt Every and Carl Pettersson on 272. Every posted a 70 and Sweden's Pettersson a 69.

England's Ian Poulter posted the low score of the final round with a six-under 64 that included seven birdies to join a group sharing sixth on 273 alongside James Hahn, Andrew Svoboda, Brian harman and Billy Horschel.

Crane, who notched the fifth PGA title of his career, played 30 holes on Sunday, wrapping up the last 12 holes of his third round.

He'd led since the first round, but the long day appeared to be taking a toll as bogeys at the sixth and ninth opened the door for his pursuers.

But Crane kept them at bay, draining a 19-foot putt to save par at the 13th after a poor tee shot.

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