Sunday’s golf: Cink rallies to win Safeway Open; Jackson’s Stuard ties for third
Napa, Calif. — Stewart Cink won the season-opening Safeway Open at 47 years old Sunday for his seventh PGA Tour victory and first since the 2009 British Open.
Cink closed with a 7-under 65 — rebounding from a bogey on the 17th with a birdie on the 18th — for a two-stroke victory over Harry Higgs.
Cink is the oldest PGA Tour winner since Phil Mickelson at 48 at Pebble Beach in February 2019. Cink’s last victory came at the expense of then-59-year-old Tom Watson at Turnberry, with Cink winning a four-hole playoff.
Cink did it the old fashioned way Sunday, with a short game that repeatedly put him in great shape on the greens. He one-putted 10 times, scrambled for pars after driving into the sand twice and had eight birdies to finish at 21-under 267.
Higgs shot a 68.
Doc Redman closed with a 62 — matching the lowest round of the tournament — to tie with Brian Stuard (70), Chez Reavie (66) and Kevin Streelman (67) at 18 under.
Stuard, Cameron Percy, and James Hahn entered the day tied for the lead.
Percy (74) was done when he went double bogey, double bogey, bogey over a three-hole stretch on the front nine. Hahn (72) bogeyed three of the first six holes and couldn’t recover. Stuard was 1 over through eight and chased the leaders the rest of the afternoon.
Cink’s bogey on the par-4, 362-yard 17th was only his second of the week and trimmed his lead to one stroke after Higgs eagled the par-5 16th to get to 19 under.
After hitting his second shot on the par-5 18th into the rough behind the green, Cink chipped to 3 feet to set up final birdie, then waited for the final three groups to finish.
Higgs missed a 10-foot birdie putt on 17, then parred 18, a hole where he made an albatross Friday.
Redman, who began the day eight strokes behind the leaders, closed with six consecutive birdies to take a two-stroke lead. The 22-year-old stayed on top for about two hours until Cink’s final push.
“The last few holes are pretty easy and I just got hot,” Redman said. “It happens, so it was awesome.”
Mirim Lee chipped in three times, the last one for eagle on the final hole that got her into a three-way playoff at the ANA Inspiration that she won on the first extra hole with a birdie.
It was another wild finish in the LPGA major that moved from the first weekend of April to the 100-degree heat of September, and no one was more surprised than the 29-year-old Lee.
She was never in the lead at any point until she calmly holed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th to beat Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson, who each had the lead on the back nine.
Lee pitched in from long range for par on the 16th, dropped a shot on the next hole and appeared to be out of it until her chip from behind the 18th green rammed against the pin and dropped for eagle and a 5-under 67.
Korda, the 22-year-old American going for her first major, had a two-shot lead with four holes to play and couldn’t hold it. With a one-shot lead going to the par-5 18th, Korda missed the fairway, had to lay up and missed the green to the right, having to scramble for par and a 69 just to match Lee at 15-under 273
Henderson lost the lead with a double bogey on the 13th hole that nearly cost her. But she birdied the 16th and was saved by the wall, a blue-covered structure behind the 18th that kept her second shot on the 18th from running through the green and into the water behind the island green. She got up-and-down for birdie and a 69.
On the first extra hole, Korda again missed the fairway and had to lay up, and her wedge was 25 feet short for a birdie putt that never had a chance. Henderson’s second shot came up just short, and she used putter for her eagle attempt that rolled out some 7 feet pasts. Her birdie putt missed on the left side.
Lee hit 5-wood just over the back of the putting surface, chipped to 5 feet and made the winner. Even with world No. 1 Jin Young Ko and U.S. Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 staying home because of travel concerns with the coronavirus, Lee made it 10 consecutive years with a South Korea winning a major.
Miguel Angel Jimenez completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Sanford International, the PGA Tour Champions’ first event with fans since returning from a break for the coronavirus pandemic.
Jimenez closed with a 5-under 65 at Minehaha Country Club to beat Steve Flesch by a stroke. The 56-year-old Spanish star won for the second time this season and 10th on the 50-and -over tour.
Tied for the second-round lead with Steve Stricker, Jimenez eagled the par-5 12th for the second time in three days and played the four par-5 holes in 4 under with birdies on Nos. 4 and 16. He parred the final two holes to finish at 14-under 196.
Flesch eagled the 16th in a 63. He had shoulder surgery in May.
Stricker shot a 67 to tie for third with Bernhard Langer (65) at 12 under. Stricker won the inaugural event in 2018, then skipped his title defense last year. The only player at Minehaha set to play next week in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, he bogeyed the par-3 17th and finished with a par.