Stewart Cink wrote one of the most remarkable comeback stories in the PGA history following his victory at the RBC Heritage 2021 yesterday. En-route to the surprise victory that earned him Kshs 140 million, the 47 year old broke a number of records as well as set the golf world alight with his son on the bag. Here are three interesting observations:
The grand return
It has been a story of resurgence for Cink, who endured an 11 year trophy drought before clinching the Safeway Open late last year. Following the RBC Heritage win he joins Bryson DeChambeau as the only multiple winners this season on the PGA Tour and becomes just the fourth player on the PGA Tour aged 47 or more to win multiple titles in a single season. He’s now the third player to win the RBC Heritage crown three times after Davis Love and Hale Irwin.
All had been going well for Cink when he turned pro in 1995 and went on to win six titles on the Tour the highlight being The British Open in 2009. He enjoyed a good spell on the World Golf Ranking charts rising to world No 5 in 2008 before fading off from 2009. At the end of last season, Cink was ranked 300. But since rediscovering his mojo this season, the 47 year old is on the roll as witnessed by the jaw-dropping performance at The Masters where he finished T12. His revival has seen him jump to 44th on the OWGR and third in the FedEx Cup standings. He is now even finding his way into contention for a place in the Ryder Cup team.
Cink attributes his turnaround in fortunes to a new training regime courtesy of his new trainer Cornel Driessen, which has seen him gain strength and mobility adapting to a new style of play. “I was able to really kind of change my game into a little bit more of a power game,” he said. Just how far will Cink’s meteoric rise go?
My son, My caddie
It was not by design, but chance. Yet the father-son combo is proving to be a masterstroke. When Stewart and Reagan Cink teamed up at the Safeway Open in September 2020, it was meant to be a bonding moment for father and son. Team Cink surprisingly won. The partnership was extended to more events resulting in four top- 20 finishes and a T12 at The Masters. Following the successful run, Cink has since fired his longtime caddie Kip Henley and engaged Reagan for the remainder of the season a move that has seen the young man postpone reporting to Delta Airlines for a flight operations job.
“He and I have always just been on the same wavelength. We’re kind of from the same DNA, and I mean literally like we are the same person. We think about things – we think about jokes, we notice the same funny stuff, we just pick up on the same kind of little details about things in our immediate surroundings,” said the senior Cink.
Cink got off to a blistering start in the opening two rounds carding an identical 63 in the opening two rounds. Despite going in to the final round on -18, four shots shy of the course record, Cink shot one-under par 70 to win on 19 under par. His longest putt made for the round was a 7-footer on number 17. Cink made 32 feet, 4 inches of putts over the entire round almost matching the obnoxious record for the fewest feet of putts made by a champion a record held by Zach Johnson in 2009 when he made putts totaling 25 feet, 8 inches. Though he found 12 of the 18 greens, he missed seven putts under 20 feet and ended up making 15 pars, two birdies and one bogey.
PGA action moves to the Zurich Classic which will be held this week, Apr 22–25, 2021 at the TPC Louisiana par 71 course. At least 19 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking will be in contention.
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