A clutch swing with his new Titleist 910 driver propelled Titleist Brand Ambassador Ben Crane to a one-shot victory at the CIMB inaugural Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia.
Trailing Pro V1x loyalist Martin Laird by a stroke at the The Mines Resort & Golf Club, Crane stepped to the tee at the 292-yard par-4 15th Sunday afternoon and pulled from his bag his Titleist 910D2 9.5 driver (Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 73) with the SureFit Tour hosel in the C-2 (+.75 upright, .75 less loft) position.
Crane's Pro V1x golf ball took off on a direct line to the flagstick, landing about 8 feet from the hole. He made that putt for eagle and another 8-footer for birdie on the 18th hole to secure his second victory of the year.
Crane also won in January at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
"I hit an unbelievable shot on 15 with my driver and that kind of turned things around," said Crane, who closed in 2-under 69 for an 18-under 266 total. "It was an exciting turnaround. That was an unbelievable finish."
Crane, No. 33 in the Official World Golf Ranking, was one of 27 players in the elite 40-player field that trusted a Titleist golf ball, more than six times the nearest competitor with four. Eight of the top 10 finishers trusted a Titleist golf ball, including Pro V1x loyalists Laird and Luke Donald, who tied for third.
Titleist also was first in drivers (12), including nine new 910D2 or 910D3 drivers in play; Iron Sets (15); and Sand, Lob and Approach Wedges (38).
Here's a closer look at Ben Crane's Titleist equipment:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 910D2 9.5, C•2 Setting (Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 73)
Hybrid: Titleist 909H 21.0 (UST ProForce AxivCore 100)
Irons (5-PW): AP2 (True Temper Dynamic Gold)
Wedges (51, 56, 60): Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (True Temper Dynamic Gold)
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Crane's victory was one of seven last week for Titleist Brand Ambassadors and golf ball loyalists across the worldwide professional tours.
On Monday, Pro V1x loyalist Lee Westwood also ascended to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
In 2010, Titleist golf ball players have recorded 133 total victories, over 100 more than the nearest competitor with 23:
• NATIONWIDE TOUR: It took four extra holes to decide a winner Sunday at the Nationwide Tour Championship, but in the end Titleist Brand Ambassadors Brendan Steele and Colt Knost had both achieved the same goal, moving inside the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour money list to earn 2011 PGA Tour cards.
For the record, Steele eventually took home the first victory of his career, rolling in his Pro V1x golf ball from 8 feet for birdie on the fourth playoff hole. The win moved Steele (Pro V1x, 907D2 driver, 910F fairway metal, MB irons, Vokey Design approach and lob wedges, Vokey TVD sand wedge) from No. 30 on the money list to No. 6, earning him a big-time promotion.
"I'd like to say it was a lot of fun but it wasn't. It was an absolute grind from the first tee shot all the way to the end," Steele told PGATour.com. "The playoff was actually a little bit more relaxing than the rest of it if you can believe that. The win wasn't the only thing that was important here. I needed to at least finish strong so I got my card for next year."
Knost (Pro V1x, 910D3 driver, 910F fairway metals, CB irons, Vokey Design wedges, Scotty Cameron Newport Fastback putter), the 2007 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Public Links Champion, moved from No. 36 to No. 15 to earn his PGA Tour card for the second time in his career. Knost last played the PGA Tour in 2009.
"It's great to be going back," Knost told PGATour.com "I feel like I'm a lot more prepared this time around. Obviously I would have liked to have won today but my goal was to go back to the PGA Tour and I'm going and I'm excited."
Steele and Knost were two of 41 players in the field that trusted a Titleist golf ball, more than four times the nearest competitor with nine. Titleist also was first in Iron Sets (16); Sand, Lob and Approach Wedges (60); and Putters (21).
Sixteen out of the top-25 players who graduated to the PGA Tour for the 2011 season relied on a Titleist golf ball for their season-long success, including: Chris Kirk (2), Hunter Haas (3), Daniel Summerhays (5), Steele (6), Martin Piller (8), Fabian Gomez (12), David Mathis (13), Knost (15), Bobby Gates (16), Steven Bowditch (17), D.J. Brigman (18), Jim Herman (19), David Hearn (21), Joe Affrunti (22), Peter Tomasulo (23) and Justin Hicks (25).
• LPGA TOUR: Pro V1x loyalist Na Yeon Choi moved to No. 1 on the LPGA money list after successfully defending her title at the Hana Bank Championship.
Choi closed in 3-under 69 to finish at 10-under 206 for a two-shot victory at the Sky 72 Oceans Course in Incheon, South Korea.
"I am really happy to defend my title this year," Choi told LPGA.com. "There were a lot of expectations from the fans that I have to defend my title. In order to live up to those expectations, I had to let everything out on the course and concentrate on every shot. That paid off."
Choi was one of 49 players in the field that trusted a Titleist golf ball, more than four times the nearest competitor with 11.
The victory was Choi's second of the season (Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic) and fourth overall on the LPGA. She has posted seven top-3 finishes in her last 10 starts.
• CHAMPIONS TOUR: Pro V1 loyalist Rod Spittle earned his first Champions Tour victory, making par on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat Pro V1 loyalist Jeff Sluman at the AT&T Championship.
Spittle, a 55-year-old former insurance salesman who turned pro six years ago, closed in 4-under 67 to finish at 12-under 201 on the Oak Hills Country Club course in San Antonio. He had to Monday qualify just to get into the field.
"Not to sound corny, but to say this is a dream come true literally is the case," Spittle told the Associated Press. "These are great players out here, and to come and tip-toe in that company is truly amazing."
Spittle was one of 57 players in the field that trusted a Titleist golf ball, more than seven times the nearest competitor with eight. Of the 10 players that finished tied for ninth or better, nine played a Titleist golf ball.
• SUNSHINE TOUR: Titleist Brand Ambassador Jean Hugo won for the third time this season, capturing the South African Sunshine Tour's Platinum Classic by two shots over fellow Pro V1x loyalist Michiel Bothma.
It also marked the second win for Hugo (Pro V1x, 910D3 driver, 909F2 fairway, MB irons, Vokey Design wedges) using the new Titleist 910 driver, following his victory with the same driver at the Vodacom Business Origins of Golf at Stellenbosch in September.
“It feels good,” Hugo told SunshineTour.com. “I played well all week long including in the Pro-Am. I was 30 under par for the four rounds, so it was nice.”
Hugo was one of 52 players in the field that trusted a Titleist golf ball, more than three times the nearest competitor with 16.
• AUSTRALASIAN TOUR: Brad Kennedy rolled in his Pro V1x golf ball from 20 feet for eagle on the 18th hole at Western Australian Golf Club to win the John HughesWA Open by a single stroke.
It was Kennedy's first victory on the Australasia Tour, after joining the tour in 1998.
“My eagle on the final hole was one of those things that makes this game worth while,” said Kennedy, who closed in 5-under 65 for a 10-under 270 total, one shot better than fellow Pro V1x loyalist Rohan Blizard.
“I was thinking of my daughter when I was putting, she is only four and she would say, ‘just knock it in the hole dad’.”
Seventy-nine percent of the field trusted Titleist golf balls, including 9 of the 11 players who finished among the top 10 and ties.
• JAPAN TOUR: Titleist Brand Ambassador Kyung-Tae Kim (Pro V1x, 909D3 driver, 909H hybrid, ZB/ZM irons, Vokey Design Spin Milled wedges) closed with a bogey-free 3-under par 69 to earn a one-stroke win at the Mynavi ABC Championship.
Kim finished at 13-under-par 275 to collect his third win of the season and career on the Japan Golf Tour.
Titleist was the golf ball of choice at the event with 38 players. Titleist was also first in Hybrids (22) and Sand, Lob and Approach Wedges (62).
• EUROPEAN TOUR: Titleist was the golf ball of choice at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters in Sotogrande event with 52 players, more than all other golf balls combined. Titleist also was first in Iron Sets (26).