Story By: Tim Hill
Photos By: Sol Tucker
In second round action at the AT&T Bryon Nelson, it looked like Jordan Spieth would finally break out of the round with his name at the top of the leader board, well that was until Ben Crane finished his afternoon round and bested Spieth by one stroke with a 7-under 63 to take the top spot, something Spieth hopes to change going into the final rounds this weekend.
“It hasn’t been that long,” said Spieth, speaking before Crane’s afternoon round. “The Masters felt like it was quite a while ago and that’s why it almost feels like, that’s why I’m getting the questions, ‘Was it nice to have your name back on top?’ Well, I mean (it was) two tournaments ago.”
“I think I played very solid today and feel comfortable with where my game is going for the weekend. I think this tournament is still within reach for me this weekend.
“I’m putting myself in good positions off the tee,” he said, while bemoaning loose swings with his approach shots. “With the size of these greens my misses are still holding the greens. But I’ve had so many 40 footers out here that I’ve managed to get in in two putts. I started to feel a bit better about it in the last few holes. I felt I put better swings at the end of the round. It had been loose before that.”
Crane took the lead after six birdies in an eight-hole stretch during the afternoon, including a 70-footer from a greenside bunker at the par-4 third hole, his 12th of the day, to get to 10 under for the tournament. He initially took the outright lead with a 3-foot birdie putt at the par-4 sixth.
“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.”
His only bogey came on his 17th hole Friday, the 463-yard eighth hole where his first two shots found the primary rough before his 16-foot par chance curled under the cup.