Ben Crane has been searching for his golf game to return for nearly three years now.
After two rounds at the AT&T Byron Nelson, he may be on to something.
Crane shot a 7-under 63 in the second round at TPC Four Seasons to take a one-shot lead over a group of four that includes world No. 2 Jordan Spieth.
“I’ve been struggling really for three years now but intermittent bits of encouragement,” Crane said. “This has been one of those weeks where I feel like my game is really coming around. Been probably more dedicated than I have ever been. More clear plan than I’ve ever had and I just did this week what I do when I play well which is scramble and putted really well.”
This week is a bit of a return home for Crane, as he lived near TPC Four Seasons for 12 years prior to moving to Nashville.
The highlight of the round for Crane came at his 12th hole, the par-4 third. After hitting his second shot into a greenside bunker, Crane knocked his chip into the cup for a three four his fourth consecutive three in a string that would eventually become seven straight 3s.
“I normally don’t really look at my results but I did when I got to No. 7 and I was filling in the scores of my playing partner and, nice, I looked up at my card and I did happen to notice that my card was all 3s and then I realized, well, I made a 2 on 17 and a 3 on 8. Man, I’m playing better than I thought,” Crane said. “That’s when a couple guys from CBS driving by after I hit my drive on 7, they’re giving me the 3 sign, I need another 3 out of you here for TV. I wish I could just dial them up.”
Crane posted the first bogey of his round at 17, dropping him back into a tie for the lead, but he responded at 18 with his eighth birdie of the day.
Crane, who is looking for his first victory on Tour since the 2014 St. Jude FedEx Classic, recently turned 40, likely meaning his time to get wins is a bit limited and that though in itself pushes Crane.
“The last 12 months I’ve worked harder than I ever worked before because I thought I was going to have hip surgery and I ended up being able not to go through with that and so in the gym,” Crane said. “I’ve worked harder than I ever worked putting in one to three hours of day of different exercises I’ve done that to help my hip and back. I’m feeling better.
“I’ve been more diligent on my game and talked more to my team about just making sure that I’m practicing with a purpose and so I’ve just worked really hard. Haven’t seen a lot of results from it but we just feel like I’m doing the right thing.”
However, this also means he may no longer be young enough to be considered one of the Golf Boys anymore either.
“I don’t know (if I’m a Golf Boy anymore or not),” Crane said. “That’s a good question. I don’t know if the Golf Boys are still together or not but yeah, certainly turning 40 everything is just harder, harder to keep your body in shape and you just going to have to work at it more than the guy who is 25 when you’re more elastic.”