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Stewart Cink contending in Champions debut with consecutive 68s in Senior PGA

FRISCO, Texas (AP) - The Senior PGA Championship wasn’t Stewart Cink’s first choice for his first tournament after turning 50.

May 27, 2023
27 May 2023

FRISCO, Texas (AP) - The Senior PGA Championship wasn’t Stewart Cink’s first choice for his first tournament after turning 50.

The potential prize would be a lot more than a consolation.

Cink shot a second consecutive 4-under 68 for the early clubhouse lead in the second round of the Senior PGA on Friday at the new Texas headquarters of the PGA of America.

Padraig Harrington, who opened with a 64 for a two-shot lead, played in the afternoon.

Steve Stricker, who won the first senior major of the season two weeks ago at the Regions Tradition, shot 67 and trailed Cink by one.

Making his PGA Tour Champions debut four days after his 50th birthday, Cink committed late to the event about 35 miles north of Dallas.

An eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 2009 British Open, Cink wanted to make sure he wasn’t in the field at Colonial in Fort Worth, about 60 miles southwest of PGA Frisco’s Fields Ranch East course.

He didn’t figure he would get into the Charles Schwab Challenge, and he’s more than happy competing against players he used to see all the time on the regular tour.

"When I didn't get into Colonial, I was not too upset," Cink said. "I was looking forward to playing here as a backup. So it's been a fun week. It's at least lived up to my expectations and probably more."

Cink still wants to play on the regular tour, specifically try to keep himself in the running for the lucrative events with elevated purses that were a response to LIV Golf.

"I'm going to have to have a heck of a summer to get in those, but I want to try to get in those, give myself a chance," said Cink, whose second round was much less eventful with five birdies and a bogey after an eagle, five birdies and three bogeys in his Champions debut.

"I think if I just converted to this tour right away and played the rest of the summer right away, and just didn't give myself any chance to get into those big tournaments, I think I would look back and say, 'Why didn't I at least give it a shot?'" Cink said.

"I expect to play well. I don't know wherever that leads me, it will lead me," said Stricker, who almost holed his approach at the par-5 18th as well. "But I expect to get up there and play well and I have confidence in my game and what I've been doing lately."

Darren Clarke, the 2011 British Open champion, shot a second consecutive 69 and was in a group of early finishers at 6 under that included South Korea’s Y.E. Yang, a Dallas resident who won the 2009 PGA Championship.

"Yesterday I didn't play great and then finished off really strongly," Clarke said. "Today I played nicely all day. Kept giving myself chances on the back nine there. Then made a poor swing into 16. Completely misjudged the shot into 17. So you make two late bogeys like that, that's a bit of a sour taste in your mouth."

Adilson da Silva, a Brazilian raised in South Africa who is playing in the U.S. for the first time, reached 8 under before consecutive bogeys dropped him into the group with Clarke and Yang after a 71.


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