Ben Crane turns back the clock to take the lead at Bermuda Championship

Ben Crane

Ben Crane is seeking his first Tour win in close to a decade.

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At 46 years old, Ben Crane is one of the PGA Tour’s most established veterans.

Crane turned pro in 1999, and though he’s made more than $21 million over the course of his Tour career, his best years have been seemingly behind him.

Until this week, that is.

At the Butterfield Bermuda Championship’s halfway point, Crane is alone at the top of the leaderboard: 14 under par, with a one-shot lead over his closest competitors, players in a five-way tie for second that includes Aaron Baddeley and first-round leader Austin Smotherman.

Crane has five PGA Tour wins on his resume, but the last one was nearly a decade ago, at the 2014 FedEx St. Jude.

This week, after getting into the field on a sponsor’s exemption, Crane fired a second-round 62 that featured nine birdies and a hole-out eagle on the par-4 6th hole. After his round, Crane said he was thrilled to simply make it to the weekend.

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“I mean, couldn’t be more encouraged,” Crane said. “Obviously played the best golf I’ve played in a long time and to be in this tournament is super encouraging, get to play four rounds. So really cool to shoot 62.

“Today was one of those special days, one of a hundred whatever it is where it just kind of all comes together.”

Prior to this week, Crane’s best finish on Tour this year was T67. Last year, he missed the cut in both of the two events he played. His current world ranking: 2,815.

But none of that matters to Crane, who enjoyed his grouping for the past few days, which included his close friend Baddeley and Chesson Hadley.

“We just literally had a ball out there. I knew we were going to just because we’re all such good friends,” he said. “Just the group altogether just made it really a light-hearted between-the-shots group, which is hard to find on the PGA Tour. We get locked in, we get too serious sometimes, we try too hard and when you try too hard in this game, it’s almost like the hole shrinks a little bit on you.”

The hole was certainly plenty big enough on Friday for Crane, who will try to win his sixth career PGA Tour event this weekend. And in terms of comeback stories, he wouldn’t be the first to experience a career renaissance in Bermuda. Brian Gay claimed his first victory in seven years at the 2020 edition of the tournament.

Crane isn’t prepping anything special in between rounds, either.

“I’ll go back and do a workout, do some stretching, have a good couple meals before tomorrow. Yeah, excited to go put my feet up,” he said.

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