Crane up by 4 when rain hits again

Ben Crane held a four-stroke lead over Troy Merritt when play was halted by inclement weather for the third consecutive day in the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn.

Officials hope players can finish the third round by 9:10 a.m. (CST) on Sunday and that all 72 holes will be completed.

Crane holed a 19-foot birdie putt on his first hole, saved par with a 12-foot putt on No. 2 and carded four more pars before play was halted to maintain the lead at 13-under-par after starting with 63-65.

“What an opportunity I have,” said Crane, who has won four times on the PGA Tour, but not since the 2011 McGladrey Classic. “Certainly at the beginning of the week, I never thought I would have been here, so I’ll just try to go home relax, get some food in me and sleep as fast as I can because we got to come back out at 7 a.m. and restart tomorrow.

“Those are kind of critical putts (on the first two holes) right now, kind of keep the momentum going.”

Merritt, whose only pro victory came in the 2009 Mexico Open on what is now the Tour, opened with 67-66 and was 2-under through seven holes when play was halted in round three.

Peter Malnati, a PGA Tour rookie who won the News Sentinel Open on the Tour last year, was 1-under through seven holes and five shots back in third at 8-under for the tournament after shooting 65-68 in the first two rounds.

Billy Horschel was 2-under for the round through eight holes and 7-under for the tournament in a tie for fourth with two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa and Camilo Villegas of Colombia, who both were 1-over through six holes.

Phil Mickelson, seeking his first top-10 finish of the season heading to the U.S. Open, was even-par through nine holes and tied for 11th at 9-under.

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