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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 1, 2010

Crane newsworthy again


Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Ben Crane celebrates his one-stroke victory in the Farmers Insurance Open with daughter Cassidy, wife Heather and son Brady.

DENIS POROY | Associated Press

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SAN DIEGO Ben Crane is back in the news for all the right reasons.

Crane's quiet offseason took a strange turn in December when a gossip magazine quoted him as saying that Tiger Woods was a "phony and fake," even though Crane had never spoken to Life & Style and had not given any interviews in months.

Crane handled that situation with the same even hand he displayed yesterday at Torrey Pines, where he overcame a two-shot deficit and hung on for a 2-under 70 and a one-shot victory in the Farmers Insurance Open.

"Obviously, being in the news a month ago was bizarre," Crane said. "Someone made some stuff up that I said something about Tiger, which I didn't. ... It's good to be (in the news) on a good note."

Then he smiled.

"And you can quote me on that."

Even more bizarre was the way Crane made his way around the tough South Course. He sank two birdie putts longer than 45 feet to seize control, then missed two short par putts to keep alive the hopes of Michael Sim, Brandt Snedeker and Marc Leishman.

And the whole time, Crane wasn't even keeping score.

He pledged not to look at a leaderboard all day, and when he rapped in a 30-inch par putt, Crane didn't even realize he had won until third-round leader Ryuji Imada, who stumbled to a 75, congratulated him.

"Did I win?" Crane asked.

Crane finished at 13-under 275 for his third career victory.

Starting the final round two shots behind, Crane opened with three birdies in five holes, including one from just over 45 feet on No. 3. He expanded his lead to three shots with another 45-foot birdie putt on the 11th.

Then it was a matter of hanging on.

ELSEWHERE

Qatar Masters: Sweden's Robert Karlsson won the Qatar Masters for his 10th European tour title, closing with a 7-under 65 for a three-stroke victory at Doha, Qatar. Karlsson, sidelined for several months last season because of an eye injury, finished at 15-under 273. Spain's Alvaro Quiros (67) was second.

New Zealand Open: Robert Gates became the 13th player to win his Nationwide Tour debut, closing with a 2-over 74 for a one-stroke victory over Australia's Andrew Dodt (72) in the season-opening New Zealand Open at Queenstown. Gates had a 14-under 274 total.