Cink wins! RBC Heritage crowns new champion with record-breaking week on Hilton Head

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Karl Puckett
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Stewart Cink, 47, turned back the clock with record-breaking play and won the RBC Heritage Presented By Boeing Sunday at Harbour Town Golf Links, beating back players almost half his age to win his third tartan jacket.

Cink finished 19 strokes under and four shots in the lead, winning 21 years after his first victory at Harbour Town.

“It’s just an experience you just don’t get to have in your life that often,” Cink said of winning a golf tournament at his age, with his son caddying for him and his family, including wife Lisa, there to witness it.

Cink outhit a surging field of younger rivals to claim join Davis Love III (5) and Hale Irwin (3) with three or more victories at the Hilton Head Island tournament.

Harold Varner III, 30, of Charlotte, and Emiliano Grillo, 28, a native of Argentina who makes his home in Bradenton, Florida, tied for second, at 15 under, while Maverick McNealy, 25, of Las Vegas, Corey Conners, 29, of Canada, and Mike Fitzpatrick, 26, of the United Kingdom were six shots behind the leader.

After Cink explained that he has a peace and joy in life as a result of his faith, regardless of how well he is playing golf, he was asked about Varner’s post-round comment “that an old guy kicked our ass.”

Cink laughed.

“I don’t think if you are a follower of Christ you can’t say you kicked ass,” said Cink, adding later that he felt he had the kind of stuff on golf course this week that would be hard to beat.

He was expecting a dog fight with the other leaders in the fourth round that never materialized.

“I felt like me and the golf course were in a pretty big dog fight today,” Cink said.

Cink joined the tour in 1995, before McNealy was born, but he isn’t the oldest to win the tournament. That would be Irwin, who was 48 when he won in 1994.

Cink also won the RBC Heritage in 2000 and 2004.

It was a dream tournament for Cink at the dreamy golf course featuring narrow live oak- and pine-lined fairways abutting Calibogue Sound with a lighthouse and an iconic 18th hole that rewards accuracy more than power.

With Reagan, his 25-year-old son and caddie, at his side advising him on each shot, Cink, the former Georgia Tech golfer who lives in Duluth, Georgia, started at a blistering pace, shattering the previous RBC Heritage 36-hole and 54-hole records.

“He and I have always been on the same wavelength,” Cink said of Reagan.

Father and son shared a hug at the 18th hole before Cink and wife Lisa embraced.

“God has blessed us beyond words,” Lisa Cink said.

The RBC Heritage win was Cink’s eighth career PGA Tour victory and the second of the season after he claimed the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California.

Just 20 percent of the usual number of tickets were sold for the 2021 RBC Heritage tournament because of COVID-19.

But with the Goodyear Blimp floating overhead against a blue sky, Sunday felt like the perfect final round.

An appreciative crowd let the players know with hoots and applause when they sank a long put or struck a great approach shot.

“When the leaders come around, it gets more active,” said David Roberie, an insurance agent from south Louisiana who had staked out a prime spot around the first green.

Notables

Matt Kuchar: Tied for 18th, nine under

Will Zalatoris: Tied for 42nd, five under

Dustin Johnson: Tied for 13th, 10 under

Wesley Bryan of Columbia: Tied for 25th, eight under

Webb Simpson, last year’s champion: Tied for ninth, 11 under