Crane fires 62 to take over PGA of Bermuda lead

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American Ben Crane shot a par 62 from nine under to take the lead after the second round of the Bermuda PGA Championship

ANDY LYONS

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Ben Crane, trying to end an eight-year PGA drought, shot a nine-under 62 to take a one-stroke lead after Round 2 of Bermuda’s PGA Championship on Friday.

The 46-year-old American had nine birdies, two bogeys and an eagle to match his PGA career low and stand on 14-under 128 after 36 holes on the windy Port Royal course in Southampton.

“Today was one of those special days, one of 100 where everything just falls into place,” Crane said. “So cool to turn 62.”

Australian Aaron Baddeley was in a second-place group of 129 that also included Americans Adam Schenk, Ben Griffin, Robby Shelton and Austin Smotherman, who shared the 18-hole lead with an opening 62.

Crane, who made the field through a sponsor exemption, was just happy to play and very excited to do the weekend in the title hunt.

“We couldn’t be more encouraged,” Crane said. “I’ve played the best golf I’ve played in a long time and to be in this tournament is super encouraging. I don’t come in a lot.”

Crane won the most recent of his five PGA titles at the 2014 St. Jude Classic. He missed the cut in seven of 10 starts last season and his last top 10 finish was eighth at the 2019 Puerto Rico Open.

Crane, who started on the back nine, opened with a birdie and answered a bogey at 14 with birdies and 15 and the par-3 16th.

After a bogey on the par-5 17th, Crane notched five birdies in a row, then made the par-4 sixth from 115 yards with a corner and birdied the par-5 seventh before a pair of closing pars.

“That 29 on the back, I didn’t see it coming. Super fun day,” Crane said.

“On the back nine, I started to throw my swing, so I was hitting some quality shots, hitting a few balls close to the hole, making that 10-footer, some 30-footer, a shot from the fairway…I was having an amazing day and then it happened.”

Playing partner Baddeley had eight birdies and a bogey while shooting 64. The 41-year-old Australian is seeking his fifth PGA title and first since the 2016 Barbasol Championship.

“I feel like the confidence is back,” he said. “Just a starting question. So that’s been great.”

Australian rookie Harrison Endycott, who also shot 62 on Thursday, fired 70 to drop to four adrift.

Indian Arjun Atwal, 49, who shot 63 on Thursday in his first PGA tour three months after his father’s death, followed with a 71.

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