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Golf roundup: Cink cruises to four-shot victory

Golf roundup: Cink cruises to four-shot victory

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Stewart Cink shot a stress-free 70 to cap a record-breaking week and win his third RBC Heritage title on Sunday.

Cink, 47, finished at 19-under 265 at Harbour Town, four better than Emiliano Grillo and Harold Varner III. Grillo shot a 68 while Varner, who had the highest finish of his career, fired a 66.

Cink hugged his son and caddie, Reagan, after his closing par on the 18th green. He, wife Lisa and their other son, Connor, all had their arms around each other to celebrate.

“I don’t even know if I have the words,” Stewart Cink said.

He won for the second time this season — only he and Bryson DeChambeau have done that — and continued his resurgence on the PGA Tour at a time when many pros his age are looking ahead to the PGA Tour Champions.

Not Cink, who broke a 12-year winless streak at the Safeway Open in September and added five more top-20 finishes, including a tie for 12th last week at the Masters.

He won $1.278 million, nearly as much as the $1.404 million for his two previous victories at Harbour Town combined.

Cink is also just the fourth player to win twice in the same PGA Tour season after turning 47. Sam Snead, Julius Boros and Kenny Perry, who accomplished it twice, are the others.

Cink shattered the lowest 36-hole score at Harbour Town of 13-under 129 shared by Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson. Cink also broke the 54-hole scoring mark of 16-under 197 that Justin Leonard had in his 2002 win.

Cink carried a five-shot lead into the final round. Nobody made a run at Cink, who led by at least three shots throughout.

Stricker takes Chubb Classic by one shot

NAPLES, Fla. — Steve Stricker figured someone could come out of the pack with a low score and win the Chubb Classic, and it turned out to be him.

Stricker closed with a 5-under 67, taking control with a wedge into 3 feet for birdie on the 16th hole. That carried him to a one-shot victory in Naples, where the 54-year-old from Wisconsin makes his winter home.

The U.S. Ryder Cup captain won for the sixth time on the PGA Tour Champions, his first title since the U.S. Senior Open in the summer of 2019.

“I felt like someone could shoot a low number, and I was hoping it would be me,” Stricker said.

Robert Karlsson of Sweden, who shared the 36-hole lead with Fred Couples, and Monday qualifier Alex Cejka of Germany each made birdie on the final hole to tie for second.

Couples was still in the mix until his tee shot on the par-5 15th sailed right into the bushes, leading to a penalty drop and a bogey on a hole where birdie would have tied him for the lead. He made pars the rest of the way for a 71 to tie for sixth.

Stricker started one shot behind at Tiburon Golf Club and ran off three birdies on the front nine of the Black course to surge ahead. He stretched his lead to three shots before a collection of players began to creep closer.

Ko breezes to Lotte

crown by seven strokes

KAPOLEI, Hawaii — No one came close to Lydia Ko at the Lotte Championship. Ko torched Kapolei Golf Club and tournament records in the process. A final-round 65 Saturday left her at 28-under 260 and seven shots ahead of everybody.

It brought back memories of the teenager from New Zealand who became the youngest golfer — female or male — to rise to No. 1 the world in 2015.

Ko, who turns 24 next Saturday, won 14 times in her first 81 starts, including twice as an amateur in 2012 and ’13. But she had only won once since — three years ago — until Saturday.

Ko came up three strokes shy of the LPGA record of 31 under. That was set by Sei Young Kim, who finished tied with Inbee Park, Nelly Korda, 22, and Irish rookie Leona Maguire at 267.

Park and Kim, both from South Korea, are ranked 2-3 in the world and Korda is fourth. Kim beat Park in a Lotte playoff six years ago, while Maguire was in the midst of a brilliant college career at Duke.

Park, who vacationed in Hawaii as a child, now has five top-five finishes at Lotte, but no wins. With her 63, she shared low-round honors Saturday with Jenny Shin.

Shin tied for sixth another two shots back with Wei-Ling Hsu, Sarah Schmelzel, reigning U.S. Women’s Open champ A Lim Kim and 19-year-old Yuka Saso, making her sixth LPGA start.

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