Cink ready to double up

European Tour

Open champion Stewart Cink says victory at Pebble Beach this week would top his success at Turnberry last year.

Open champion Stewart Cink says victory at Pebble Beach this week would top his success at Turnberry 11 months ago.

The 37-year-old American has recorded three top-10 finishes in the US Open, most famously at Southern Hills in 2001 where he ‘choked’ with the title at his mercy.

Needing a par at the final hole, Cink failed to hole out from two feet, three-putted for a double-bogey and missed out on a play-off with Retief Goosen and Mark Brooks,

With the ‘major’ monkey now off his back, Cink can more easily reflect on the effect that performance had on him.

“Looking back on it, it probably took me longer than I thought it would to erase memories of that,” he said.

“Once the confidence from playing well wore off, I entered a stretch that was probably the darkest of my career – mostly in ’02. I just wasn’t very happy with the way I was playing.”

Cink fought back to win twice on the PGA Tour in 2004 and again four years later, before reaching the pinnacle of his career with victory over 59-year-old Tom Watson at last year’s Open Championship.

And the American with a liking for seaside golf should find himself at home on the Pebble Beach links, although changes to the lay-out in recent years means only the best will do.

“To come through here at a course like Pebble Beach, with all the history and all the champions’ names, would mean the most to me,” he added.

“This tournament, especially the way they have been setting it up lately, really identifies the best players.

“There are going to be some holes where probably less than 20 percent of the guys are going to hit (the green) in regulation.

“For instance, on the 10th hole, you can’t just hit it down the right half of the fairway and expect your ball to stay in.

“You have to hit the left half of the fairway. Holes like that are not going to be very often birdie holes.”

Latest