Malnati in contention at the St. Jude Classic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP/WVLT) -- Ben Crane went more than 28 hours between competitive shots due to weather delays, and he stayed atop the leaderboard through six holes Saturday before another storm stopped play again at the St. Jude Classic.

Crane birdied his first hole, putting him at 13 under for the tournament. After that, no one got closer than four strokes at rain-softened TPC Southwind.

Troy Merritt, a group ahead of Crane, was at 9 under, with playing partner Peter Malnati at 8 under. Billy Horschel, Retief Goosen and Camilo Villegas were at 7 under on their front nines.

Malnati, a Jefferson County High School graduate who makes his home in Dandridge, arrived at the St. Jude Classic having made just 3 cuts this year in 11 PGA tournaments.

"This is probably not a good thought to have, but I was thinking after the Byron Nelson I hadn't made a cut yet in the continental United States on the PGA Tour," Malnati said Saturday after finishing his second round.

"It's official now. I have. So that was good to get that monkey off my back even though it's not really a monkey. I'm really happy with how I played today in the second round."

Malnati earned his PGA Tour card after winning last year's News Sentinel Open at Farragut's Fox Den Country Club.

Phil Mickelson, who hasn't won in 19 straight events dating to the British Open, had pars on each of his first nine holes and was at 5 under. He's using the event to tune up for the U.S. Open next week at Pinehurst.

Coverage of the tournament continues Sunday at 3 pm on WVLT/CBS.

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