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Crane unaffected by nearly 5-hour rain delay

MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Ben Crane weathered the rain delay the best.

Crane, who was atop the leaderboard when thunderstorms interrupted the first round of the US Bank Championship on Thursday, continued his birdie bombardment on Brown Deer Park after a nearly 5-hour delay.

His 8-under 62 made him the clubhouse leader with many in the field of 156 still on the course where everyone would be drenched during a second rain delay 2 1/2 hours later.

Crane was 4 under when the horn sounded just as he made the turn at 10:05 a.m.

``I just went back to the hotel, laid down and relaxed,'' Crane said. ``I came back and went through my regular routine. It worked out well. I was able to continue the momentum.''

Kenny Perry, the 2003 winner, shot a 63 and Chris Smith, Jeff Sluman and Jerry Kelly all had 64s on the par-70 course that is one of the shortest on the PGA Tour, measuring just 6,759 yards.

Lightning and high winds forced golfers to retreat to the clubhouse or their cars at midmorning and they didn't resume their rounds for 4 hours, 43 minutes.

The second wave of players didn't begin teeing off until 3 p.m., just as some of the early threesomes were signing their scorecards, and a second round of hard rain halted play again at 5:25 p.m.

This was the 14th event out of 31 tour stops to be affected by bad weather this year.

So, the players are used to dealing with delays.

``Not four hours,'' Smith said. ``I don't think I ever remember one that long. I came back out and I was stiff and I'm sure everybody else was, too.''

Still, Smith's round wasn't affected _ even though his plans were.

``I was playing well. I would like to have kept going. But I came out and made a couple more birdies, so it worked out,'' he said. ``It's going to cut my afternoon short. I was looking for an afternoon nap, so that's not going to happen. It's probably going to mess up tomorrow a little bit but I'm early in the shuffle, so I should be able to get finished tomorrow, too.''

The golfers whiled away the time during the first delay by surfing the Internet, answering e-mails and eating lunch.

``You have to shut off your brain when you go inside and when you come back out you warm up like it's a brand new round,'' said Lee Janzen, who shot a 69. ``You go in there, you sit around, you talk about whatever, you watch TV, you walk around, you have a couple meals, you make some calls. Just keep yourself occupied.''

Smith said he hates to be on a golf course for very long, much less cooped up in the clubhouse.

``I don't like spending four hours at a golf course, period. Let alone in a locker room in a rain delay. No, it was a long one,'' he said. ``They said it was going to be a couple hours. So, I think it caught us all by surprise that we were in there that long.''

Crane wasn't caught off guard.

He went back to his hotel with his wife to relax and grab a light lunch, then drove back to the course when the dark clouds passed and the winds died down.

``And then kind of started my whole routine over: went into the trailer, warmed up, went to the range, hit balls just like I'm starting another round,'' he said. ``I just treated it like it was the first tee again.

``And I picked up where I left off.''
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