HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Two-time champion Stewart Cink moved into place for a 3rd RBC Heritage title, capturing a second straight 63 to set the 36-hole scoring mark at Harbour Town.
Cink, 47, seems unstoppable after two wonderful days. He sits at 16-under 126, 5 photographs forward of Corey Conners. The earlier finest midway rating was 129, set by Jack Nicklaus en path to victory in 1975 and matched by Phil Mickelson, who wound up third in 2002.
Conners shot 64 and was 11 beneath. Emiliano Grillo (64) was one other shot behind.
Fourth-ranked Collin Morikawa, getting ready to defend his PGA Championship title subsequent month, was tied for fourth at 9-under with Sungjae Im (65), Billy Horschel (67) and Cameron Smith, who adopted his opening-round 62 with a 71.
Cink was hardly overwhelmed by the scores he posted, chalking them as much as good preparation and powerful execution alongside his 24-year-old son, Reagan, who’s caddying for him.
“It doesn’t feel all that special, to be honest with you,” Cink stated. “We just kind of worked our game plan.”
It was definitely sudden. Cink hasn’t completed within the prime 20 at Harbour Town in a decade, hadn’t led midway because the Travelers Championship in 2008 and is nearer to the PGA Tour Champions than his prime.
Yet Cink has had a renaissance on golf’s greatest stage this season. He received for the primary time in 11 years at the Safeway Open in September and has added 5 top-20 finishes together with a tie for twelfth final week at the Masters.
Cink was down three photographs to Conners when he teed off Friday.
No matter. Cink rapidly erased the deficit with an eagle on the par-5 second and a birdie on No. 3. Cink moved in entrance with a birdie on the sixth and steadily constructed his margin the remainder of the best way, including birdies on the eleventh, thirteenth, fifteenth and seventeenth holes.
The veteran is 2 stable rounds away from including a 3rd plaid jacket to the 2 he earned in 2000 and 2004. In each of these wins, Cink got here from behind on Sunday. This time he’ll want to simply keep his robust general play.
Since Reagan turned his caddie, father and son have been collaborating on technique earlier than tournaments.
“We call it bludgeoning and we’re just bludgeoning that plan almost to death,” the elder Cink stated with a smile. “When you manage yourself around a course like that and execute, the golf courses yield.”
Conners entered the week with Masters momentum, having tied for eighth at Augusta National for his second top-10 end there in 5 months. He birdied seven of his last 13 holes.
“Giving myself lots of chances and was really nice to see some go in,” Conners stated. “Hopefully, can keep that up going into the weekend.”
Morikawa had possibilities, too, He had seven birdie alternatives from 20 ft or much less on his last 9 holes, however the one one which dropped was an 18-footer on No. 6.
Morikawa stated altering wind situations made it troublesome to evaluate inexperienced speeds.
“It was tough not seeing a few birdies in,” he stated. “But we’ll work on a few things and be fine for the weekend.”
Smith, who was bogey-free in his opening 62, dropped three photographs in a five-hole stretch on Friday.
“I think the golfing gods got a few back on me today,” the Australian stated.
Top-ranked Dustin Johnson used a back-nine surge to keep away from his second straight missed reduce and after leaving the Masters early, returning solely to slide the inexperienced jacket on new champ Hideki Matsuyama. Consecutive bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes at Harbour Town dropped him to 1-under, however 4 birdies coming in gave him a 67 and left him 11 photographs behind Cink.
Those going dwelling included Patrick Cantlay, Harris English, Sergio Garcia and Kevin Na, all among the many prime 30 within the FedEx Cup level standings this season.
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