Cink seeks antidote to Masters misery
Two-time Harbour Town champion Stewart Cink hopes opposites attract in the Verizon Heritage tournament.
Two-time Harbour Town champion Stewart Cink goes into the Verizon Heritage tournament hoping to again make the most of what he calls the “anti-Augusta” feeling.
Reigning Open champion Cink had a difficult Masters last week at Augusta National, missing the cut by five strokes after back-to-back rounds of 76.
The compensation for the American is a chance to rebound at the Harbour Town Golf Links course on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where he was victorious in 2000 and 2004.
“It’s quite special,” Cink said.
“It’s always one of my favourites, if not my very favourite tournament of the year. It’s such a relaxed field. The golf course is really unique and special.
“It’s like the anti-Augusta – flat, everything is very small and closed in, whereas Augusta is so large and rolling hills. Everything here is the opposite.
“So based on my play last week, I hope that’s the opposite, too.”
Cink said he was struggling to find consistency in his game for the second season in a row, despite having come away with his maiden major victory at Turnberry last July.
“It’s been sort of a continuation of some things I did in my game last year, where I was wildly inconsistent,” he said.
“I had the British Open win and a few good tournaments, but really a lot of lacklustre play.
“Unfortunately I sort of continued that. And working like crazy, as always, but just not seeming to get much out of my rounds.
“It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it is but I’m continuing to work hard and trying to make improvements and see how we can go the rest of the year.”
Cink joins a field at the par-71, 6,973-yard course which includes world number six Jim Furyk, England’s world number seven Paul Casey and Colombian Camilo Villegas, currently fourth on this year’s PGA Tour money list.
World number five Ian Poulter will not be competing though, the Englishman having withdrawn from the tournament following his Masters exertions when he finished tied for 10th.
The European contingent joining Casey will still include Spain’s Sergio Garcia, Englishmen Luke Donald, Brian Davis and Greg Owen as well as Scotland’s Martin Laird, Germany’s Alex Cejka and Swedish quintet Robert Karlsson, Carl Pettersen, Daniel Chopra, Richard S Johnson and Fredrik Jacobson.
Also teeing off will be defending champion Brian Gay, the American who dominated last year’s event with a 10-stroke victory that featured just two bogeys on his card over four rounds.
“It was an amazing week,” Gay said. “I pretty much had everything going for four days.
“I think I was second in fairways, third in greens hit and the putter was hot.”
Managing expectations in light of that performance will be the biggest test in front of him this time, Gay said.
“I think the challenge this year is not to try to live up to last year, just go out and do the best I can, and hit the shots that I hit last year, and not really put too much pressure on myself or too many expectations and compare it to last year.”
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