Stewart Cink claims first win since denying Tom Watson at Turnberry in 2009

47-year-old American records sweet Safeway Open success with son on the bag

Stewart Cink and his 23-year-old son and caddie Reagan joined forces to make it a family win in the Safeway Open in California. Picture: Getty Images
Stewart Cink and his 23-year-old son and caddie Reagan joined forces to make it a family win in the Safeway Open in California. Picture: Getty Images

Stewart Cink returned to the winner's circle for the first time since denying Tom Watson a fairytale sixth Open Championship at Turnberry 11 years ago and, on this occasion, no-one will hold it against the American.

Not when his victory in the Safeway Open, the first event of the new PGA Tour season, came at the age of 47. Not when he had one of his sons, Reagan, on the bag at Silverado Resort in California. And not after seeing his wife, Lisa, overcome breast cancer.

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"I didn't know if there would be another more special moment for my career than that," said Cink of getting his hands on the Claret Jug on the Ayrshire coast after a play-off victory over Watson, who was 59 at the time, "but might be a new one now."

On a day when Russell Knox had his title bid halted in its tracks by three bogeys in four holes on the front nine, Cink closed with a second successive 65 to finish with a 21-under-par total, winning by two shots from compatriot Harry Higgs (68).

The five-time Ryder Cup player is the oldest PGA Tour winner since Phil Mickelson, who was 48 when he landed the AT&T Peeble Beach Pro-Am in February 2019.

"When you get 47, you don't really, really know if you're ever going to be able to close the door on another one, and this was just a really special week where I had a lot of good things going with my golf," said Cink.

Referring to his wife Lisa, who was walking outside the ropes at the Napa venue, having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, he added: "It does put things in perspective.

"When you're 47, you have a lot more experience and a lot more things happened in your life that you can use to put golf into perspective. It's certainly been the case for us and I don't think anybody escapes stuff like. I'm glad Lisa was able to be here, and having Reagan on the bag was just awesome."

Knox, who started the final day two shots off the lead, had to settle for a tie for ninth after signing off with a 70 for a 16-under total.

The Scot, who'd led after an opening 63, was two-over for the round after six holes before recovering to play the remaining holes in five-under, picking up two of his birdies in the last three holes.

Elsewhere, Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez claimed his 10th title on the Champions Tour with a one-shot success in the Sandford International in Sioux Falls in South Dakota.

The 56-year-old signed off with a five-under 65 to finish with a 14-under 196 total, pipping American Steve Flesch by a shot, with Colin Montgomerie tying for 25th on six-under.

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