Crane: “What the heck am I doing here?”
By Stephanie Wei under Fall Series

Hats off

Those were the first words that came out of Ben Crane’s mouth when he sat down next to The McGladrey Classic trophy in his post-win presser. Great question. We’ve been wondering the same thing, though now the question — “What the heck am I doing here?” — could be interpreted in more than one way.

Crane’s wife is expecting their third child today and is scheduled for a C-section at noon in Dallas. Crane almost withdrew five minutes before his pro-am on Wednesday because of a sore hip. And when he made the turn on Sunday, he was six shots out of the lead.

He fired off four consecutive birdies on Nos. 8-11 and then another four on Nos. 14-17 to close with a seven-under 63, which put him in a playoff against Webb Simpson. Crane won on the second extra hole after Simpson missed a kick-in putt for par.

Because Crane started the day so far behind, he didn’t look at the leaderboard until the 16th hole, where he realized he had to birdie two of the last three. “So you’re saying there’s a chance,” quipped Crane, quoting his favorite movie Dumb and Dumber. “More like one in a million…”

Before the final round Crane and his host for the week in Sea Island figured he had to shoot seven- or eight-under to give himself a shot at winning — golfers do that all the time, but it rarely happens.

“I’m in a little bit of shock, a lot of shock, disbelief,” said Crane. “I don’t know how those guys played, but I know I played just about as good as I can play.”

He joked that the new baby’s middle name had to be “McGladrey or Frederica, Sea Island.”

So, what was Crane doing at The McGladrey Classic? He asked ’10 US Open champ Graeme McDowell the same question earlier in the week.

“We both just kind of said, you know what, it’s kind of been a down year on our golf, and we’re both just trying to find a little form,” explained Crane. “I just thought ‑‑ yeah, I’d just like to put some rounds together.  I’ve been working with my coach out in San Diego, Greg Rose at Titleist, and we kind of came across some things that really helped, and so we thought, you know what, let’s just get some rounds in and just see if it is, in fact, better or if it’s more of the same.”

I think Crane found his answer.

(AP Photo/Stephen Morton)