With the birth of his third child expected in less than 24 hours, Titleist Brand Ambassador Ben Crane delivered one the best comeback victories of the season Sunday at the McGladrey Classic in an all-Titleist playoff.
After starting the final round five shots back, Crane birdied eight of his last 11 holes at Sea Island's Seaside Course to force extra time with fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Webb Simpson (Pro V1x).
Crane's par on the second playoff hole earned him his fourth-career PGA Tour victory, the 31st win for Titleist golf ball players on the 2011 PGA Tour.
It was also one of six victories on the week for Titleist players across the worldwide professional tours – increasing Titleist's 2011 win count to 146, more than six times the nearest competitor with 23 and more than all competitors combined.
A total of 17,933 players have teed up Titleist golf balls in worldwide pro events this season, more than six times the nearest competitor with 2,774 and more than all other golf balls.
Trusting a Titleist Pro V1x golf ball and bag of Titleist equipment, Crane closed with a 7-under 63 that included a back-nine 30 and 20-foot birdie putts at Nos. 16 and 17 to finish at 15-under 265.
Simpson (pictured right) shot a 4-under 66 to get into the playoff, guaranteeing him his 20th top-25 finish of the season and the No. 1 spot on the PGA Tour money list with one event remaining in 2011.
After the playoff, Crane quickly hopped a plane back home to Dallas, where his wife was scheduled to deliver the couple's third child by C-section Monday at 1 p.m. (EST).
"I'm in a little bit of shock, a lot of shock, disbelief. …," said Crane of his fourth PGA Tour victory. "I know I played just about as good as I can play."
Crane led the field in birdies with 22, four of them coming in his last five holes.
On the par-4 14th, he hit his Titleist AP2 7-iron approach to a foot. He two-putted for birdie on the par-5 15th, then rolled his Pro V1x golf ball in for a pair of 20-foot birdies on the next two holes.
"I looked at the leader board on 16 green. I saw the guys were two ahead, and I had a 20- or 22-footer for birdie, and I just said, well, if I'm going to have a chance, I'm going to have to birdie two of the last three holes," said Crane, the 16th different full-product Titleist Brand Ambassador to win on the PGA Tour this season.
"Newsflash: If you don't birdie the first one and you're dormie and you've got two holes to play and you've got to make two birdies, it gets harder."
Titleist golf ball players claimed nine of the top-10 spots at the event, including third-place finisher and Pro V1 loyalist Michael Thompson, who wrapped up his PGA Tour playing privileges for next season.
Also earning his 2012 Tour card: Titleist Brand Ambassador Bud Cauley, who finished tied for 15th. Cauley made the cut in seven of his his eight PGA Tour starts this season, becoming only the sixth player to turn pro and earn his card without having to go to PGA Tour Q-School.
Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 87 players, nearly seven times the nearest competitor with 13. Titleist also was first in iron sets (36); sand, lob and approach wedges (114); and putters (50).
Recently, Crane put a new Bassara W 50 for Titleist driver shaft in his 910D2, looking to regain ball speed he lost from recent back injuries. The change has increased his season average driving distance by nearly two yards.
Here's a closer look at Ben Crane's Titleist equipment:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 910D2 7.5º (Mitusbishi Bassara W for Titleist)
Hybrid: Titleist 910H 17º (Mitusbishi Diamana Blueboard 93)
Hybrid: Titleist 910H 21º (UST Axiv Core 100)
Irons: Titleist AP2 5-9 (True Temper Dynamic Gold S400)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled 252.12º (bent to 51º), SM56•15º (bent to 55º), 60º•E (bent to 59•) (True Temper Dynamic Gold)
Here's a closer look at Webb Simpson's Titleist equipment:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 909D3 10.5° (UST AxivCore 69)
Fairway wood: Titleist 910F 13.5° (UST VTS 8X)
Fairway wood: Titleist 910F 17° (UST VTS 8X)
Hybrid: Titleist 910H 21° (Graphite Design Tour AD DI 105)
Irons: Titleist 680 MB 4-P (True Temper Dynamic Gold)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design TVD 54°, 58° (True Temper Dynamic Gold)
• EUROPEAN TOUR: Pro V1x loyalist Tom Lewis birdied five of his final seven holes Sunday at the Portugal Masters to claim victory in just his third professional start.
Lewis, formerly one of the world's top amateur golfers, posted a final-round 7-under 65 that included a back-nine 31 at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course.
Lewis shot rounds of 70-64-68-65 for a 21-under 267 total, two clear of Titleist Brand Ambassador Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Pro V1x).
For the week, Lewis rolled his Pro V1x golf ball in for 25 birdies and just four bogeys. He played his final 35 holes bogey-free, going 10 under over that stretch.
He hit 86.1 percent of his greens in regulation and averaged 309.5 yards off the tee.
The victory earned Lewis a two-year exemption on the European Tour as well a spot in next month's World Golf Championships event in China. He also advanced into the top 60 in the season-ending The Race to Dubai.
"To have two years on The European Tour, I would not have dreamt that at the beginning of the week, so I'm really pleased," he said. “I've got a long way to go. I'm nowhere near the player I want to be, so I'll put this win behind me at the end of the year and start fresh next year.”
Lewis was one of 74 players in the field that relied on Titleist golf balls for their success, more than four times the nearest competitor with 18 and more than all other golf ball combined.
The 20-year old made headlines this summer when he shot a record-setting 65 for an amateur in the first round of the Open Championship, giving him a share of the lead. He also produced a top-10 finish in his first pro event in Austria.
• LPGA TOUR: Na Yeon Choi watched her Pro V1x golf ball disappear into the cup for two birdies over her final four holes to claim a one-shot victory over fellow Pro V1x loyalist Yani Tseng at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
Choi fired a final round 3-under 68 to finish at 15-under 269 at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. The deciding birdie came at the par-3 17th, where she hit her tee shot to 5 feet and rolled in her Pro V1x for a one-shot advantage.
Tseng, who started the final round four shots behind Choi, closed with a 6-under 65.
It was the second consecutive week the pair finished 1-2.
The win was the first of the year for Choi and the fifth of her three-year career.
It was also the 100th win by a player of Korean descent on the LPGA.
“I won my fifth tournament and a hundred times for all of the Korean players,” said Choi, who has posted 10 top-10 finishes this season, including two runner-up performances.
“So it’s very nice. Icing on the cake.”
Tseng, the No. 1 player in the Rolex World Rankings, leads the LPGA with six victories and 12 top-10 finishes this season. She has nine victories worldwide in 2011.
Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia with 49 players, more than eight times the nearest competitor with six and more than all competitors combined.
• SUNSHINE TOUR: Titleist Brand Ambassador Doug McGuigan trusted a Titleist Pro V1x golf ball, new Titleist CB (712 series) irons and a bag full of TItleist equipment to his fifth-career Sunshine Tour title at the KCM Zambia Open.
McGuigan, who recently won the first stage of European Tour Qualifying, outlasted fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Jean Hugo (Pro V1x) in a five-hole playoff.
All five playoff holes took place on Nchanga Golf Club's par-4 18th, where McGuigan made a couple clutch halves before clinching the victory.
On the first playoff hole, McGuigan holed a 12-footer for birdie. On the third, he got up-and-down for par from behind the green.
On the fifth, he hit his approach to 3 feet for birdie and the win.
"My new Titleist CB irons were really easy to adapt to and I'm hitting it well," said McGuigan, who tied Hugo in regulation at 16-under par 272.
"It’s really satisfying to come out on top," he said. "It feels sensational.”
Titleist golf ball players occupied the top five positions on the final leader board. In total, 72 players relied on Titleist golf balls for their success, more than three times the nearest competitor with 18 and more than all competitors combined.
• ASIAN TOUR: Pro V1x loyalist David Gleeson's record-breaking performance at the Hero Indian Open en New Delhia earned him his third-career Asian Tour title.
Gleeson was the only player to shoot all four rounds in the 60s at New Dehli Golf Club, posting scores of 68-66-66-68 to finish at 20-under 268, the lowest winning score in tournament history.
His final round 68 included a hole-out eagle from 140 yards on the par-4 third hole
"Once I made that eagle I started playing more conservatively," said Gleeson, who made 13 straight pars to close out the tournament. "It is unbelievable to win again."
Gleeson was one of 104 players in the field that trusted Titleist golf balls for their success, more than five times the nearest competitor with 18 and more than all competitors combined.
Titleist also was first in iron sets and sand, lob and approach wedges.
• KOREAN TOUR: Pro V1 loyalist Kyung-Nam Kang closed with a 1-under 70 at the Meritz Solmoro Open to earn his second win of the season.
Kang finished the four rounds at Solmoro Country Club in Yeoju-gun, South Korea, at 7-under 277, one shot ahead of Titleist Brand Ambassador MinKyu Han (Pro V1).
Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 85 players, five times the nearest competitor with 17. Titleist also was first in fairway metals (45); hybrids (78); and sand, lob and approach wedges (108).
• NATIONWIDE TOUR: At the Miccosukee Championship in Miami, 99 players teed up Titleist golf balls, more than five times the nearest competitor with 17 and more than all other golf balls combined.
Titleist Brand Ambassador Mark Anderson (Pro V1x) finished second, closing with a 3-under 68 for a 13-under 271 total at Miccosukee Golf & Country Club.
Titleist also was first in iron sets (40); sand, lob and approach wedges (135); and putters (57). Titleist was second in drivers (43); and fairway metals (43).
• CHAMPIONS TOUR: Pro V1x loyalist Marc Calcavecchia was one of 55 players that played Titleist golf balls at the AT&T Championship, more than six times the nearest competitor with nine and more than all competitors combined.
Calcavecchia finished runner-up after posting round of 68-66-66 for a 16-under 200 total at TPC San Antonio.
Titleist also was first in iron sets (24); and sand, lob and approach wedges (50).
• JAPAN TOUR: At the Japan Open, 48 players relied on Titleist golf balls for their success, more than any other golf ball.
Pro V1x loyalist Kenichi Kuboya finished runner-up in a playoff after ending regulation at Takanodai Country Club at 2-under 282.
Titleist also was first in hybrids (41); and sand, lob and approach wedges (76).