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May 29, 2023

Stewart Cink settles for third place in first Champions event

By Gregg Dewalt, Alabama Golf News Editor
Stewart Cink at the Heritage

Lackluster ron play to blame

On a day when Stewart Cink felt like he needed a low number to overtake Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington to win the KitchenAid PGA Senior Tour Championship, the former Florence, Alabama resident was stuck in neutral for most of the final round.

Cink closed fast with a birdie and eagle for a deceptive final-round 69, but he needed a 66 to win and a 67 to make the playoff with Stricker, who ended up winning, and Harrington, who led for three rounds.

As a result, Cink settled for a third-place finish in his inaugural PGA Tour Champions event in a round in which he made 14 pars, one birdie and one bogey in the first 16 holes.

He said his mediocre round – he made a birdie and a bogey on the front nine and all pars until the final two holes – came down to not making quality iron shots.

I drove it awesome for the most part and my iron shots just weren’t like — I wasn’t really hitting my lines,” he said. “And, my distance control was a little off today, which is a hallmark of mine. So that was a little bit of like, whoa. It felt like every time I was in good position to attack I would hit it 20 feet and I would put it in the 20-foot place where it’s the worse 20-footer you could have on that hole.”

Stewart Cink: ‘I never gave myself any green lights’

He said he rarely gave himself putts with which he could be aggressive.

“I never gave myself any green lights. So, you do that hole after hole and you just kind of just 2-putt and 2-putt and 2-putt,” he said. “I didn’t take any advantage of the holes that where I where my power could really do something like that.”

While logging par after par, Sticker and Harrington extended their lead to as many as six shots early on the back nine.

Cink, who has missed 8 of 16 cuts on the PGA Tour this season but said he has been trending upward in recent weeks, said he’ll take a lot of positives on to his next event.

“I shot, what? 16-under par,” he said. “And this is no pushover golf course. You got to play good golf to shoot 16-under par somewhere. I’m taking a lot of confidence down the road from here.”

The just-turned 50 Cink enjoyed his first venture on the Champions Tour. He’s uncertain when his next Champions Tour event will be, but he’s looking forward to it.

“I had a great time. I love playing with those guys,” he said. “This has been fun this week. I definitely got my feet wet and I’m looking forward to playing more of these. I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t looking forward to my next PGA Tour Champions. I don’t know when it’s going to be, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Gregg Dewalt is the editor of Alabama Golf News

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Featured image courtesy of the PGA Tour

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