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Stewart Cink keeps pursuers at bay, leads by 5 entering final round of RBC Heritage


HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Stewart Cink didn’t sink.

The PGA Tour veteran of greater than twenty years shook off a torpid begin after which maintained his wholesome benefit on the sphere in Saturday’s third round of the RBC Heritage on a sun-splashed Harbour Town Golf Links.

Armed with a five-stroke lead after posting a pair of 63s to set the 36-hole event scoring file, Cink made a sloppy par on the second and bogeyed the third due to a poor drive and a foul putt.

But he slammed residence a 24-footer for birdie on the par-3 fourth gap and added a 6-footer for birdie on the par-5 fifth to up his result in seven pictures.

No one bought nearer than 5 the remaining of the round.

Cink added one other birdie from shut vary on the par-3 14th – he’s the PGA Tour chief in par-3 scoring common – and signed for a 2-under-par 69 to complete at 18-under 195 – breaking the 54-hole event file whole by two pictures (beforehand held by Justin Leonard in 2002).

“One of the things that we talked about before the round, and I talked to Lisa (Cink’s wife) about it, too, was expecting some adversity out there and being prepared for something like No. 3 where I missed a pretty easy putt, just a little left-to-righter, four feet,” Cink mentioned. “But that kind of adversity under the circumstances is something you have to expect. The next hole I blasted that putt. If it hadn’t hit the hole, it was probably going at least eight feet past, but it hit the dead center of the hole. I did feel a little bit calm after that putt went in.

“It was not the hottest day with the putter, but under the circumstances it’s not easy to remain totally freed up. I was a little bit tied up in the results and it’s something I can recognize and hopefully get better at tomorrow. But it’s natural; it happens to everybody.

“Overall, though, I’m still pleased with a pretty solid round and didn’t do a lot of damage to myself.”

Reigning PGA champion Collin Morikawa is Cink’s closest pursuer. Morikawa birdied 4 of his final six holes to shoot 67 and transfer to 13 beneath.

Six again is Emiliano Grillo (69). Seven again are Matt Wallace (65) and Sungjae Im (69). Defending champion Webb Simpson, who started his round 13 pictures behind Cink, shot the day’s lowest round, a 64, and stood eight again with Matt Fitzpatrick (68), Harold Varner III (69) and Corey Conners (72).

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson shot an unspectacular 71 and remains to be at 5 beneath.

“I’ve got to put some pressure on (Cink) at the beginning,” Morikawa mentioned. “If I go out and shoot even par like I did on the front nine today, it’s not going to get the job done no matter how many birdies I make on the back.

“I’m going to probably need a little help from him but knowing that this is a course where you can see 9-, 8-, 7-unders, I’m going to have to do that. I’ve seen parts of my game be able to do that, so we’ll hopefully put 18 holes together tomorrow.”

Added Grillo: “This keeps me there in the mix for second place so far. Stewart is playing some great golf out there and it’s going to be a hard day tomorrow if he keeps playing this way. I don’t know how the conditions are going to be. For sure they’re going to be dry and fast, and just got to go and make some birdies.”

Wallace mentioned he has to make his transfer earlier than Cink hits the house stretch.

“He’s just playing some great golf. I’ve just got to take care of myself, and if that gives me a chance with nine holes to go, with four, five holes to go, anything can happen around those last four, five holes,” he mentioned. “That’s my thinking.”

After the round, Cink introduced up the same 54-hole lead he had 17 years in the past at Firestone, when he led by 5 with 18 to play. He received by 4.

“I remember sleeping little that night, and I’m a little different person now, and I think I’m treating this whole tournament with a little bit more gratitude, Reagan (his son) caddying and all that stuff, and it’s been sort of a stop and sort of pinch myself along the way and enjoying it more than I’m fretting over it.

“But it’ll still be a rollercoaster emotionally, and it’s going fun challenge to embrace that instead of fighting against it, creating some kind of a conflict.”

If he does win Sunday, Cink would have eight PGA Tour titles on his resume and would be a part of Bryson DeChambeau as the one two-time winners on the PGA Tour this season. Cink received the season-opening Safeway Open, his first victory since capturing the Claret Jug within the 2009 British Open.

It would even be his third victory right here – he received in 2000 and 2004.

Cink is in vary to interrupt the event file of 22 beneath set by Simpson final 12 months, when the occasion was held in June because of the COVID-19 international pandemic. Also in vary for Cink is the file victory margin of 10 set by Brian Gay in 2009. Cink has made simply two bogeys in 54 holes, greater than offset by two eagles and 16 birdies.


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