FedEx St. Jude Classic. Ben Hangs On For Victory.

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Ben Crane started the final round with a four shot lead, and hung on for victory in the FedEx St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis.

 

Ben Crane / USATSI

Ben stumbled to a final round +1 over par 73, but had enough to hang on and win the FedEx St Jude Classic by one shot. His phone lit up with text messages pouring in;

“Oh my gosh, it just keeps going, how many can a phone hold? This is so much fun. I was just so nervous, so excited, so thrilled that my game has come around. I did a lot of praying, lot of thanking God for some fun days.”

“This win is different for me, I want to treat it differently and I really want to enjoy it. I don’t want to act like there’s five more behind it.”

“This has been a really tough year, I had to finally become OK with golf not being in the picture. I just felt like things were going in that direction and so I just got to the place where I said, ‘Lord if it’s not golf, I will love You.’ But if it is that would be really fun.”

Troy Merritt was in second place, his finishing round was also disappointing, a -1 under par 71, but -9 under par for the tournament was a good score.

“I hit the ball actually pretty similar to the way I’ve been hitting it most of the year, I made a lot of putts this week. That’s what you have to do out here if you want to contend and be there on Sunday afternoon.”

“Ben played great, hats off to him. Well deserved. He’s been struggling for a little while. Very happy for Ben.”

Webb Simpson had one of the lower rounds of the day, a -4 under par 66, which got him into a tie for third place with Carl Pettersen and Matt Every.

Webb is finding some form after a lean spell;

“It’s what I’ve been looking for, for a few months now, it seems. I came in this week feeling good after three weeks off, put together a good weekend and finally got some birdies there on Sunday.”

Phil Mickelson ended the tournament at -6 under par, tied in 11th spot. He is feeling good about his prospects in the U.S. Open;

“Pretty good, The way I drove the ball the last two rounds, I had an opportunity to shoot really low. My iron play was poor and my putting was pathetic. Sometimes I just have to change it up to get a little bit different feel.”

FedEx St Jude Classic. Crane Keeps His Lead.

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Ben Crane increased his lead at the rain interrupted FedEx St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind.

Ben Crane holds a big lead entering the weekend at the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

Ben Crane / Getty Images

Ben Crane followed his first round 63 with second round -5 under par 65, to increase his advantage to six shots at the top of the FedEx St Jude Classic at a wet and windy TPC Southwind. He posted a clubhouse score of -12 under par for the two completed rounds, other have yet to finish their second rounds.

Ben had plenty to say about his round and how good the greens are;

 

‘I certainly didn’t see this coming, but you know when you’re putting well, I started to feel like I was a little more in control of my ball, just felt like I was tightening my draws and fades a little bit. I had access to some holes I haven’t this year and so gosh, it’s been an incredible two days.”

“It was a dream round of golf, I’m just so thrilled to be playing well. I just kept making putts and giving myself opportunities, and then you don’t feel like you have to hit it so close. It’s certainly the way you want to play golf. The greens are so pure and the hole just opened up. I love the extra element of grain, how it accentuates, most of the time, the break.”

“We had ideal scoring conditions. The wind laid down for us after the storm yesterday and the greens softened up a bit. Today it was calm this morning.”

“I certainly didn’t expect to be here, if someone would have told me a couple days ago I’d be standing in front of a bunch of cameras, I would have asked, ‘What did I do?’  It’s been a really, really hard year. You start wondering, ‘Am I going to get it back?’ 

Carl Pettersson is tied in second place at -6 under par for the tournament, he is currently at -3 under par for his second round, with one hole left to play.

Jason Bohn shares second place at -6 under par with two holes left to play. Davis love 111 and Billy Horshel are at -5 for the tournament, with completed second rounds, while Peter Malnati is tied with them at that score, but has yet to even start his second round.
There is a whole heap of p[layers who are yet to even start their second rounds, lets just hope a lot of golf is played tomorrow so that the picture becomes clearer.

 

FedEx St,Jude Classic. English Excels.

Harris English excelled his expectations with a win at the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind, in Memphis Tennessee.

English bulldog

Harris English / Badz / Getty Images

Harris had a final round of -1 under par 71 to win the FedEx St.Jude Classic, with a tournament total of -12 under par. A handful of old high school buddies had a calming influence from the gallery as Harris attained his first PGA Tour victory, with a two shot win at TPC Southwind in Memphis. He praised the support of friends and the influence of caddy Brian Smith;

“I had probably 10 high school friends out there today, and I know that if I make a birdie or a bogey, they’re probably going to be the same and they’re rooting me on. I was just really relaxed out there today. Bogeyed eight and nine, which was tough. But I knew if I kept it together on the back nine, I could make a run at the thing. I really didn’t think I’d be in this seat right here coming off nine.  I thought I kind of made some really dumb bogeys on eight, nine and kind of shot myself out of the tournament. But Smitty was saying, Hey let’s go beat this back nine. Let’s get back under par for the tournament for the day, and let’s get after it. So it was almost pedal to the metal. It’s quite an unbelievable feeling.”

Tied in second place at -10 under par were Scott Stallings and Phil Mickelson. Phil had a final round of -3 under par, 67 and was encouraged by the way he played going into the Major next week;

“I’m really encouraged with the way I hit my irons. Got to get the 3-wood in play a little bit more, although next week at Merion distance won’t be as critical as TPC Southwind. I’ll be able to hit higher and softer shots.”

Scott was looking good for a win, and was at  -12 under par at the turn, with four birdies on the front side. But he sadly finished with a double bogey, a birdie and a bogey in his final four holes. He hopes to have learned something from the experience;

“You have to learn from the experiences that you have like this today and hopefully I’ll get a little bit better break next time. Harris has played great coming down the stretch.”

Ryan Palmer was alone in fourth spot, he also had a final round of -3 under par for his tournament total of -9 under par, three shots off the pace.

FedEx St Jude Classic. Stefani Steals 3rd Round Lead.

Shawn Stefani stole the third round lead at the FedEx St. Jude Classic with a -4 under par round 66, despite carding a 7 at the par 3 eleventh hole.

Hanging tough

Shawn Stefani / Lyons / Getty

Shawn recovered to birdie four of the final five holes to grab a one-stroke lead at -12 under par, but still it was that quad that was the talk of the FedEx St. Jude Classic tournament at TPC Southwind.

Shawn himself shrugged off the watery mishap at eleven;

“I hit a good tee shot on 12 and the drive on 12 is not the easiest drive on the course, and then the birdie on 14 is when I got more calm. I’m actually playing a lot better than I was in Tampa. Having the lead was great, but I’m more prepared with my game. I can’t worry about what Phil’s doing out there, Phil’s Phil. I’m just going to concentrate on what I’m doing.”

Just one shot behind in second place at -11 under par, is playing partner Harris English who had a more modest third round, at -1 under 69.

Harris said is was tough to watch Shawn struggle on the par 3;

“It’s tough to watch that, I don’t care who you are, but he brought it back beautifully.”

Three players are tied in third spot, Patrick Reed, Nicholas Thompson and Scott Stallings, all at -8 under par.

Phil Mickelson has made his intentions clear, with a move up the leaderboard today with his third round of -5 under par 65 and is now at -7 under par for the tournament. Five shots is a lot to make up but if anyone can do it, Phil can, especially if putts like the one on the second hole start dropping;

I’ve played better each round and I’m encouraged by that, I had a few bogeys and I left a few birdies go, let a few shots slide. It’s certainly out there. The putt on two was bigger, it was going pretty quick but ended up catching the middle of the hole and going in. Five under was a pretty good score today, but not great given the setup. I could really get some glimpses of my game getting where I want it. Hopefully, I’ll put together a really low round Sunday and catch the leaders.”

Rookie Eric Meierdierks is also at -7  under par after his third round of -4 under, 66 which included a hole in one at the par 3 thirteenth hole;

” The 13th hole, 8-iron, spun back into the hole, always helps the putting stats, that’s what I was looking for. Probably going to get some calls with bar tabs I have to pay.”

FedEx St. Jude Classic. English Breaks Clear of the Pack

Harris English shot a second round of -6 under par, 64 to break clear of the pack in the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind.

FedEx St. Jude Classic

Harris English / Lyons / Getty Images

Harris English has given himself a two shot lead at the half-way stage of the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis Tennessee, with his 36 hole score of -10 under par. He had a red-hot putter and said it was awesome to be at the top;

” It’s awesome to be in this position, I’ve worked very hard the last couple weeks and couple months to get in this position, and I feel like I’m ready and I feel like I got a lot of good people around me to help me. I haven’t holed out in a while, to make it on 2, probably the hardest hole on the golf course, is kind of unbelievable. I grew up on greens like this down in south Georgia, fast Bermuda greens. I’m very comfortable on these type of greens. I know when it’s going to be fast, and it’s really fast. And when into the green, it’s really slow. I have a good handle on the speed, that’s really what helped me today. When you get the speed down on the greens, you can start making some putts. I’m still looking for my first win and still hungry to be the best and to try to get my first win.”

Nearest challenger on Friday was Shawn Stefani, who had a second round of -5 under par for his tournament total of -8 under par.

Tied in third place are Paul Haley 11 and Scott Stallings, both players are at -5 under par.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson is at -3 under par but has more or less conceded this tournament, especially if Harris has another good round tomorrow;

“If he has another two days like the first two, it will be tough to catch him,. But I would say I look forward to being bunched throughout on Sunday coming down the stretch.”

Being seven shots behind the leader at the moment Dustin needs a good round tomorrow, but still needs Harris to have an off round to even think of catching him.

Missing the cut here in Memphis, Brandt Snedeker, D.A. Points and Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old amateur from China who made the cut at the Masters. Paul Goydos missed the cut too, but he did play on Friday, shooting a 72,  after fearing that he had re-injured his left wrist during the opening round. Tim Clark and David Duval also joined the missed cut brigade.

 

FedEx St. Jude Classic. Its Tight At The Top In Tennessee

            Click for detailed Tennessee Flag

It is tight at the top of the leaderboard in the FedEx St. Jude Classic at  T.P.C. Southwind, in Memphis Tennessee.

 

 

There are six players who tied at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the first round at the FedEx St Jude Classic at TPC SouthwindNathan Green, Martin Flores, Stuart Appleby, Glen Day, Harris English and Davis Love 111 all had opening rounds of -4 under par 66. on the par 70 lay-out. This is the final event before the U.S. Open next week at Merion Golf Club, and Davis said he was excited to be back in contention;

“I still hit some bad shots, at The PLAYERS and Memorial, I felt like I was playing better than I was scoring. I think it’s rust. I’m excited to be back, and I’m anxious and I want to play better than I’m playing. I’m a little bit tired from the two 36-hole qualifiers as well. You got to be a little bit more patient and polished. That’s going to take some rounds of golf to get back. I tried to keep up with Dustin and Brandt.”

Stuart Appleby had his best round of the year, but was surprised the scoring was not lower, in the near perfect conditions;

“I thought there were some more birdies out there, I think just with the pace of the greens if you’re above the hole it’s tricky. I’m happy with the way I played today. Anybody who got under par today, the scoreboard, certainly fought to get there.”

Nathan Green lost his status last year, and was nervous seeing his name at the top of the leaderboard when he had completed his round;

“I was starting to get nervous seeing my name on the board and made two good up and downs to finish off the round, which is nice”

Phil Mickelson shot a +1 over, 71 , but said this was a ball strikers course,and he was striking the ball well;

“This is great because it’s a great test. The guy that strikes it well is going to have a big advantage, but when you do miss greens, you’ve got to be pretty sharp with your short game because the lies around the greens are some of the most difficult that we get. It’s about as good as I’ve been striking it, and I feel like there’s a good round in me.”

Behind the pace setters on the leaderboard, and  just one shot adrift are eleven players, who all had -3 under par 67’s.

FedEx St Jude Classic, Dustin Johnson Wins

 

He's back, folks

Dustin Johnson Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

Dustin Johnson, the injury comeback kid, has won the FedEx St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind, Memphis in Tennessee by one shot from John Merrick. Dustin who was returning after a three-month layoff due to injury, has picked up a win in his second start back, this is his sixth PGA TOUR title. Dustin won with a tournament total of -9 under par. after his final round of -4 under par, 66. Dustin said about his tournament;

” Well, it feels really good. Especially having so much time off, coming back. You know, last week helped a lot competing and getting back in the groove of things. And then, you know, I came out this week and I really, I just played well all week.”

John Merrick was alone is second place after his last round of -2 under par, 68. John has been at or near the top of the leaderboard all this week, and has been well rewarded with his second place effort. He said of his week;

 ” It was fun. It was a blast. I feel like lately I’ve been in the hunt to make the cut lately. It’s why you practice, man. It’s fun to be in the hunt, feel pressure, and just proud of how I hung in there.”

Four players were tied for third place, all finishing the tournament with -7 under par, they were; Ryan Palmer, Chad Campbell,         Nick O’Hern and Davis Love 111.

Rory McIlroy finished at -6 under par, after standing on the 18th tee tied for the lead at -8 under par. An errant tee shot straight into the water ended any chance he had in this tournament, slumping to a double bogey six on the last hole. He was asked if deciding to play here was the right decision, and also hitting 3 wood of f the last tee;

 “Yeah, it was. I saw a lot of positive signs this week. I got in a good position after 11 holes of the final round and hit a couple of shots coming in, but, you know, overall it’s still a pretty good week and just looking forward to getting to San Francisco and going there.        3-wood off the tee. Trying to hit the same shot I hit yesterday off the tee and turned it too much. I was missing that 3-wood left all day. To be honest, I wasn’t really that comfortable with it, but I knew it was the shot that I needed to play and I didn’t hit the way I wanted to.”

It was a really good outing for Rory, getting him into good shape and playing some decent golf in preparation for his defense of his title at the U.S Open. The missed cuts he endured recently are now hopefully just history, and he will go forward with some confidence.

FedEx St. Jude Classic, Three Tied at the Top, Rory slips back.

Rory slides back

Rory McIlroy Lyons/Getty Images

There are three players tied at the top of the leaderboard in the FedEx, St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind. The leaders are at -6 under par for 54 holes with Nick O’Hern completing his round at -3 under par for a total of -6 under par for the tournament. That tournament total was matched by Davis Love 111 and John Merrick who was one of the first round leaders.

There are six players just one shot off the lead, including Rory McIlroy, who somehow managed to rack up six bogeys during his third round, against four birdies. This left him with a total of -5 under par, and still in contention for the trophy on Sunday. The other players tied in second place at -5 under par are, Dustin Johnson, Robert Allenby, Kevin Kisner, Chad Campbell and Kevin Stadler.

In all there are sixteen players within three shots of the leaders, and it will be an exciting final round to watch as all these professional players vie to be on top of the leaderboard at the end of the round on Sunday afternoon. I personally think that Rory will regroup and come out firing on all cylinders on Sunday, especially as he now knows that Lee Westwood has won over on the European Tour in Sweden. Lee  is hot on his heels in the race for the number one ranking, both of them trying to catch Luke Donald.

FedEx St Jude Classic, McIlroy Leads after 36 holes.

 

MEMPHIS, TN - JUNE 08:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his tee shot on the par 3 8th hole during the second round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind on June 8, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee.

 Rory McIlroy, Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy put his recent troubles behind him as he shot a second round -5 under par 65 to lead by one stroke after 36 holes, at the FedEx St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind, Memphis, Tennessee. Rory’s tournament total is -7 under par, hot on his heels at -6 under par are three players; J.B. Holmes, who had the best round of the day, a -6 under par 64, Jeff Maggert, one of the first round leaders. Joining them at that mark is Kevin Stadler, who matched Rory’s round of 65 for the day. Rory was full of confidence after his days work;

“You know, it was a really, really good round of golf out there today. I saw a lot of positive signs with my ball-striking. Hit a lot of good iron shots and drivers. So that was something that I was really working on the last couple of weeks and feels like it’s coming together for me. So excited to be in this position going into the week. Could have been even better, could have made eagle on 16, but, you know, to finish strong the way I did was great and it gives me momentum going into tomorrow. It’s nice to see my name on that part of the leaderboard. It’s not nice when you’re struggling to make the cut on a Friday afternoon. It was great. It’s nice to be through to the weekend, obviously. It’s obviously even nicer to be leading and have a great chance.”

J.B. Holmes was pleased with the way he had played;

“I just kind of hit everything. I wasn’t knocking pins down, but I hit them in there pretty close. Made a couple 6-footers, but I putted well. I was hitting it 15, 20 feet and making some putts.”

The other first round leader John Merrick, is now two shots off the lead after his second round score of -1 under par, 69, for a two round total of -5 under par.

There are a host of players at -4 under par for two rounds, including Rory’s playing partner Padraig Harrington who scored another -2 under par round of 68.

Notables missing the cut are, last years champion Harrison Frazar with a two round score of +11 over par.Graeme McDowell, who had another horrendous round to finish with a +8 over par total. David Duval and Jhonattan Vegas both finished with +6 to miss the cut.

Zach Johnson also missed the cut with a two round total of +4 over par, a poor effort by his high standards. Colombian Camillo Villegas at +3, and Robert Karlsson at +4.

FedEx St. Jude Classic, @ TPC Southwind · Memphis, Tennessee. M @ M lead

 

 

 

Jeff Maggert and John Merrick lead the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis Tennessee with both players shooting -4 under par, 66’s. That’s only one shot better than a plethora of players, four in all, who are chasing the leaders.

Jeff  took advantage of teeing off in the first group experiencing calm conditions for the first seven holes, and finished with four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys. John managed to  match his best round of the year with six birdies and two bogeys, the last on No. 18 when his tee shot went into the water to drop him back into a tie for the lead. He was upset about the last hole;

“Had a loose shot there on 18, but you know, can’t hit every shot perfect out there. So, I was really happy with today. I got off to a really good start. I’m really happy with where I am today,”

Ireland is well represented, with Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington both home safely after the first round at -2 under par for the tournament. They are joined at that score by Major winner big John Daly, Davis Love 111 and Y.E. Yang. Spencer Levin, last weeks contender had to settle for a first round score of +1 over par, Kyle Stanley is another on that score, Kyle suffered from three bogey’s on his round.

Rory was very happy with his improvement;

“I felt like that was about the best round of golf I played in a while. It could have been a lot better. Middle of the fairway, 3-under par have a 9-iron into the green par 5,  The scoring doesn’t look too good. Off to a decent start definitely, 2 under is a decent start. Definitely so. Lot of good signs out there.”

Rory’s playing partner Padraig Harrington spoke about the changes to the course;

“It’s gusting a bit, but it’s definitely from an unusual direction. And anybody who has played over the past number of years, it’s playing a different golf course. On 9 there, I’m hitting driver off the tee. I normally hit 5-wood off the tee. There’s a lot of holes to have changed like that out there. Some are much tougher, and some are a little easier.”

High profile strugglers over par on the first day included Jhonattan Vegas and Henrik Stenson at +2, Zach Johnson at +3, David Toms at +4. There were two players at +10 for the first round, to save embarrassment I will not name them, they will definitely not be  here for the weekend.