Golf Roundup

Crane has finishing touch at Torrey Pines

Associated Press / February 1, 2010

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Ben Crane made two birdie putts longer than 45 feet to build a big enough cushion that missing a few short putts down the stretch didn’t cost him yesterday in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

Crane knocked in a 30-inch par putt on the final hole for a 2-under-par 70 (13-under 275 total) and a one-shot victory over Michael Sim (71), Brandt Snedeker (69), and Marc Leishman (68). It was Crane’s third career victory, and first in nearly five years, and this one earned him a trip back to the Masters.

“It’s really cool to know I’m going in the right direction,’’ Crane said.

Starting the final round two shots behind third-round leader Ryuji Imada (75, T9), Crane opened with three birdies in five holes, including one from just over 45 feet on No. 3. He expanded his lead to three shots with another 45-foot birdie putt on the 11th.

Phil Mickelson, making his season debut, was only four shots behind entering the round, but he bogeyed his first three holes and was never a factor, finishing with a 73.

Robert Allenby (70, T9) made a charge only to fall back by losing five shots in four holes. Sim, the 25-year-old Australian, kept with Crane the entire round and had his chances, including a missed birdie putt on 17.

Michael Allen celebrated his 51st birthday with five straight birdies for a 65, moving him into a tie for fifth with Ernie Els (69), Rickie Fowler (70), and Alex Prugh (66), who earned a trip to Riviera next week for the Northern Trust Open.

European - Robert Karlsson made seven birdies and shot a 7-under 65 to win the Qatar Masters in Doha by three strokes.

Alvaro Quiros, the defending champion, shot a 67 to finish second.

The 40-year-old Karlsson finished 15-under 273 at Doha Golf Club for his 10th tour victory, his first since missing several months last season because of an eye injury.

Nationwide - Robert Gates became the 13th player to win his tour debut, closing with a 2-over 74 for a one-stroke victory over Andrew Dodt (72) in the New Zealand Open at Queenstown.

Gates, a former star at Texas A&M, had a 14-under 274 total.

Australian Daniel Nisbet, ranked No. 26 among world amateurs, has been given an 18-month ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for possession of a prohibited substance (Norandrostene, an anabolic steroid).