Enjoying the senior tour's different vibe
Stewart Cink called his first round on the PGA Tour Champions “fun.” Without a sample size to pull from, being tied for fourth place with three rounds to play in the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, seems just about right for the just-turned 50-year-old former Florence, Alabama resident.
Cink’s 68 was four shots off the pace being set by Padraig Harrington, who went out early on the new PGA of America’s course in Frisco, Texas, and shot 64. Cink’s playing partners were Robert Karlsson and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who both shot 68 as well.
A good day on the greens helped Stewart Cink turn in his 68 that included an eagle 3 on his 10th hole. It was a day he said was a “really good day for scoring.”
“I was a little sloppy at times to be honest,” Cink said. “I saved myself a few times. Made a few good par putts. I felt good over the putter. I took advantage of my driver a few times to reduce some of these holes quite a lot in length. When I was in play, I was really being able to be aggressive. The greens were holding. The wind was down for the most part.”
Playing with Jimenez and Karlsson was a comfortable pairing for Cink.
“To be honest, I had a fun time today playing with Miguel and Robert, guys I haven’t played with much in the last several years,” he said. “It was good to reconnect with them. I’m always impressed by how everybody else plays.”
Stewart Cink: Wife is on the bag
Cink made an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys with wife Lisa caddying for him.
“She’s not really a golfer but she knows me really well,” he said. “So, small sample size, I like the way I’m playing. I like the way that my wife and I are working together on the course. We’re having fun. That’s really what it’s all about. When you have a good time, you have a good attitude and you’re enjoying it, then lower scores tend to follow you.”
Previously, son Reagan caddied for him before going to work at Delta Airlines. His last two wins came with Reagan on the bag and Cink admitted it was a tough transition when Reagan left to join the workforce.
“This year I just haven’t been playing that great. I had a good run with my son caddying and it was such a fun time regardless of the results,” he said. “When he went back to work and basically fired me, it was, I wasn’t really prepared for how, like kind of devastated, I would feel on the inside. Not that I was really devastated, but it did kind of like take me a little while to dig out of that hole. I just was not really myself for the last half a year or so. The last, I don’t know, say three or four weeks, I’ve just been feeling a little bit physically a little bit more in command over the ball.”
Cink is not going to transition full time to the Champions Tour right now. He is still exempt on the PGA Tour and is confident he can still be competitive. He admits, though, that there is a different vibe on the Champions Tour and he’s enjoying seeing friends from the PGA Tour who are now full-fledged Champions Tour players.
“There’s a lot of guys I keep up with, we text and stuff back and forth. But I don’t ever see ’em,” he said. “Guys that I’ve been friends with since my kids were tiny. So I have gotten to see a lot of those guys and catch up with ’em and spend a little bit of time.
“I can see why guys really enjoy playing on the PGA Tour Champions or the senior majors, it’s really, it’s fun. And after you’ve been in the grind for a long time — it’s a grind out here too, the guys play great. But it’s just, out here, it’s like grinding with a smile. That’s been the real fun change from the PGA Tour where it’s quite a lot more businesslike nowadays. And it ought to be, it’s a huge business and I’ve been fortunate to be part of that, too. But this has been a great, fun experience and I’m looking forward to the next three days.”
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Featured image courtesy of the PGA Tour