The first round of the 2014 FedEx St. Jude Classic ended at sundown with half the afternoon wave still on the course due to a 3½ hour rain delay. Everyone was at least through ten holes.
They begin again Friday morning at 7:00 AM (local) and the second round — consisting of the afternoon wave that did finish before dark — will begin at 7:30. For those yet to finish this could be a boon if they begin playing well. When you’re playing well there are never enough holes left, you could play all day and still hope you never run out.
Ben Crane wishes he could have kept playing all day. But playing in the morning, he had to make way for the late times. But with a bogey-free, 7-under 63 and a 2-shot lead, he’ll settle for feeling like he’s turned a corner.
Remember Ben Crane? The guy with four Tour wins, the last at the McGladrey Classic in 2011 when he had two bookend quadruple birdie runs for a 63 and ultimate playoff win? My post on that round, “The Clown Prince Gets Serious,” describes Cranes comedic antics in a series of videos — most famously, “The Golf Boys,” with Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson — and the playoff with Webb Simpson. And there’s more.
2012 was another good year with $1.7 million in winnings from a 2nd and three other top 10s. 2013 was less than half that much in earnings, but just enough to finish 125th in the FedExCup points race and get into The Barclays, the first of the four Playoffs tournaments. He shot 67 in the first round…and then withdrew with what turned out to be a chronic bad back.
“I had to withdraw from Barclays after a great first round. I just really didn’t see any hope. I didn’t see — I didn’t understand why my back was hurting so bad. Found out it was my golf swing”
But he was able to find two good coaches to help him:
“Terry Rawls gave me this tip, the coach, and it helped my back but just taken me awhile to get my game in shape again and so — and then I had some things that were off and on. I’m just working long-term but working with Coach Greg Rose [from the Titleist Performance Institute] and tighten up a few things.”
“Amazing how you tighten up one little thing here and there and like wow, this game is crazy. So, I’m thrilled to put it all together today.”
That work moved him back to hope; Thursday’s work moved him to confidence:
“Gives me confidence I’m doing the right things. Whatever happens this week I’m thrilled with this round, thrilled with the progress that we’ve made. We’re just trying to work a little more long-term in getting my game in shape.”
“I didn’t think I would be playing golf this year. To be playing has been a blessing but I haven’t played well at all so I’m excited to now be healthy and to start finding my game here. I’m encouraged.”
Evidence, we always want evidence. Oh, to be able to just sort through our kenesthetic meanderings — however we’re playing — in a state of being confident. Then it becomes the confidence that drives the evidence, not the evidence that drives the confidence.
In any event, for his breakthrough efforts, Crane wins the Popup Player of the Day, awarded to those players who pleasantly surprise us with their good play.