Stewart Cink was not the old guy that many thought could win this week at the Safeway Open. But he was the one still standing at the end.
Prior to the start of this week’s Safeway Open, most of the talk was about the old guys and how they would fare this week. When the media, and the fans, were talking about the old guys, they meant 50-year-old Jim Furyk and fellow 50-year-old veteran Phil Mickelson. There wasn’t any talk about someone who was just a little younger, Stewart Cink.
Turns out, more people should have been paying attention to the 47-year-old Cink, who used a 65-65 weekend to claim the title at the Safeway Open, topping Furyk, Mickelson and a cast of others who figured to be much more likely winners than Cink this week. What may have seemed like an event in 2005 was, in actuality, a tournament late in 2020.
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Cink started Sunday in seventh place, a couple of shots off the lead. And on his front nine in the final round, he got off to a slow, but not bad, start. He started with three pars before back-to-back birdies on the fourth and fifth holes got him to 2-under par.
He would par the sixth and seventh holes before birdies on the eighth and ninth holes got him to 4-under par as he made the turn. His front-nine 32 showed that Cink still had what it takes to win on the PGA Tour.
Cink would par the 10th hole before a birdie on 11 got him to 5-under on his round. After three straight pars, Cink would birdie 15 and 16 to seemingly put the tournament away with just two holes to play. He held a three-shot lead at that point.
But a bogey on the 17th hole, coupled with an eagle from Harry Higgs on the 16th hole, cut Cink’s lead to one with one hole to play. However, the veteran came to the par-5 18th hole and found the fairway, was near the green in two and got up and down for birdie, sealing his seventh PGA Tour victory.
Cink earned his seventh PGA Tour victory and won for the first time since the 2009 Open Championship, where he held off Tom Watson. Amazingly, Cink earned his first win on the tour in 1997 at the Greater Hartford Open. Some of the players in this week’s field were not yet born at that point. It was a nice win for an old guy, even if it wasn’t the old guy that many expected to win this week.