Ben Crane has made two eagles and an ace already this week. Now all that’s left is to see whether he can delight the home crowd with a victory on Sunday.
Crane, who lives in Westlake, Texas, about 40 miles away from Fort Worth, enters the final round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at 14 under and two strokes off the lead held by Bryce Molder and Brian Davis.
And he got a big boost Saturday on the 17 th hole where he holed that pitching wedge from 142 yards for eagle. He walked to the green and retrieved the ball, then tossed it into the appreciative crowd for a souvenir.
“I just took dead aim and hit a beautiful shot and the crowd got a little louder and a little louder as it hit, and then all of a sudden they erupted and that was certainly a thrill,” Crane said.
Crane has already won once this season and he came to Colonial riding the momentum of consecutive top-10s, including a tie for fourth at THE PLAYERS Championship. But he says his goal on Sunday is simply to play his best.
“That’s not my goal to capture the championship,” Crane said. “My goal is just to do my best and certainly I sure hope I don't change my game plan. If I'm changing my game plan, I'm not doing the right thing. I'm not doing the thing I set out to do to make this process primary -- just to be able to relax and commit to each shot and just let them go.
“So often as golfers, we want a certain result or try to control this ball. And we think this golf ball has feelings, but the last I checked, it doesn't. Anyway, it's a crazy game. Was it Bobby Jones that said most of the time golf is a sport that's played on a field of 5 and a half inches right between your ears? I like that.”
Crane stayed in the moment so well back in January when he won the Farmers Insurance Open, he didn’t know he had won the tournament until his playing partner, Ryuji Imada congratulated him on the 72 nd hole. He’d like nothing better than to have that mindset on Sunday, too.
“That was great for me to be able to just not worry so much about where other people were at and just play,” Crane said. “Occasionally you might catch the glimpse of a leaderboard, but certainly I hope I don't do that and that I'm able to play free and just add them up at the end of the day.”
Crane is one of 17 players within six strokes of the lead. He says that logjam shouldn’t affect his concentration one way or another.
“If I'm doing what I set out to do, it won't be a factor,” Crane said. “So again I'm not trying to achieve a result, I'm just trying to do my best.”