Stewart Cink wins again but plays down chance of Ryder Cup return
The 47-year-old landed the RBC Heritage for a third time at Harbour Town Golf Links at Hilton Head, winning by four shots after he’d spreadeagled the field on the back of back-to-back 63s in the opening two rounds.
Cink, who beat Tom Watson in a play-off to win The Open at Turnberry 12 years ago, is just the fourth player aged 47 or older to claim multiple victories on the PGA Tour in a season since 1960, having also triumphed in the Safeway Open at the start of the 2021-21 wraparound campaign in September.
He’s jumped 13 spots to 24th in the US Ryder Cup standings on the back of this latest success, but Cink, who turns 48 in May, is not building up his hopes of facing the Europeans for a sixth time and first since 2010 at Whistling Straits in September.
“Not really,” he replied to being asked if the possibility of making a return in the biennial event as part of Steve Stricker’s side was beginning to be in his mind after some fans had greeted his win with a shout of ‘Ryder Cup, see you at Whistling Straits’.
“At 47, I just don't have this endless supply of energy, and I need to kind of like keep my decision-making to a minimum.
“As it turns out, I think that having two wins in between the US Opens, maybe I might be exempt for the US Open (at Torrey Pines in June) now, I'm not really sure, but I'm hoping that I can get out of that 36-hole qualifier.”
Cink closed with a 70 for a 19-under-par total, winning comfortably from Harold Varner III (66) and Emiliano Grillo (68) as he joined Davis Love III (five) and Hale Irwin (three) with three or more victories in the RBC Heritage.
The only other players to win more than once in the same season on the PGA Tour since 1960 aged 47 or older are Sam Snead, Julius Boros and Kenny Perry, who achieved the feat twice, most recently in 2009.
“This week I threw some really good execution in there and our game plan was solid,” said Cink of his week’s work along with his son and caddie, Reagan.
“This course just demands so much discipline, and I was able to stay committed. It's believing that the game plan is there for a reason, and we stayed with it.
“It was just a really good, solid week all the way through. It was pretty spectacular the first two days, just like I could do no wrong.”
England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick cemented his position in Europe’s Ryder Cup standings by closing with a 68 to tie for fourth, six shots behind the winner, with Maverick McNealy (67) and Corey Conners (68).
Open champion Shane Lowry (66) also finished in the top 10, with Bob MacIntyre having to settle for a tie for 59th after a closing 78 that included back-to-back double-bogeys on the inward nine.
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