Ben Crane's back is OK, and his putter couldn't be working much better this week at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn.
The combination helped him shoot a five-under-par 65 on Friday to open a six-stroke lead in the PGA Tour event before heavy rain delayed play twice and forced the suspension of play for the day.
Crane birdied his final hole Thursday night for a 63 and rolled in a 44-foot putt for birdie to start the second round Friday morning. He had a 12-under 128 total at TPC Southwind, matching the winning score in relation to par last year.
“I certainly didn't see this coming,” Crane said. “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.”
Crane has spent the past six months changing his swing to protect his back. A four-time PGA Tour winner, Crane's last win came in 2011 at the McGladrey Classic and his best finish this year was a tie for ninth in the Humana Challenge in January. But he was in such pain he had a therapist with him for treatment during the round.
Carl Pettersen and Jason Bohn were tied for second at six under. Pettersen had one hole left to complete his second round, and Bohn had two to play. Davis Love III (70) and Billy Horschel (68) were in at five under.
Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen were unable to start the second round. Mickelson, winless in his last 19 events since the British Open, opened with a 67 on Thursday and Goosen had a 66.
Friday got off to a slow start with 60 players needing to wrap up the first round with the second started 40 minutes later.
Lightning delayed play at 1:03 p.m. local time for 59 minutes before play resumed for 13 minutes. Mickelson had just gotten to the tee when the horn blew again. Fans were sent home before a severe thunderstorm drenched the course, filling bunkers, fairways and cart paths with water.
Finally, play for the day was suspended just before 5 p.m. Players are due back at 7 a.m. so they can make the cut for the third round.
Defending champion Hee Young Park and Shanshan Feng topped the second-round leaderboard in the LPGA Tour's Manulife Financial Classic at Waterloo, Canada, a stroke ahead of Michelle Wie.
Park had a five-under 66 to match Feng at 11-under 131 at Grey Silo Golf Club. Feng shot a 66.
Last year, Park beat Angela Stanford with a birdie on the third playoff hole after they finished at 26-under 258 to match the tour record for lowest total score.
Wie, the winner in Hawaii in April, followed her opening 65 with a 67. She's seeking her second victory in Canada after winning the 2010 Canadian Women's Open in Winnipeg.
Anna Nordqvist, a two-time winner this year, was at nine under after a 64 — the best round of the week.
Russ Cochran and Kenny Perry teamed to birdie the final three holes for a share of the lead with Jeff Sluman and Fred Funk in the Champions Tour's rain-delayed Legends of Golf in Ridgedale, Mo.
The leaders were at 10-under 61 after their better-ball rounds on the Buffalo Ridge course.
Funk and Sluman played the first nine holes in seven-under 28 and added three birdies on the back nine. In Savannah, Ga., last year, Sluman teamed with Brad Faxon to win the Champions Division.
USC’s Annie Park won two matches in the Curtis Cup to help the United States take a 5-1 lead over Britain and Ireland at St. Louis Country Club.
The 19-year-old Park, from Levittown, N.Y., teamed with Mississippi State's Ally McDonald to beat Bronte Law and Charlotte Thomas 4 and 3 in the morning four-ball matches, then joined UCLA's Erynne Lee to top Eilidh Briggs and Gabriella Cowley 3 and 1 the afternoon foursomes.
The United States is trying to regain the cup after falling in 2012 at Nairn in Scotland. The loss was the Americans' first since 1996. The Americans lead the series 27-7-3.
Sweden's Mikael Lundberg shot a four-under 68 to take the second-round lead in the Lyoness Open at Atzenbrugg, Austria.
Lundberg had a nine-under 135 total at Diamond Country Club. England's Lee Slattery was a stroke back after a 66, and Paraguay's Farbrizio Zanotti had a 68 to reach seven under.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times