Stewart Cink won the US$6 million US PGA Travelers Championship here on Sunday for his first tournament victory since 2004.
The highest-ranked player in the field at No. 5, Cink shot a three-under 67 on the final round to finish at 18-under 262.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Cink, who had been 1-for-9 when leading entering the final round. “I would have loved to have gone out there and shoot 62 and just slam the door on everybody. But I was prepared for that not happening.
“I think I got myself ready, got myself intense to the point where I could block out most distractions, and I played mostly mistake-free today,” he said.
Tommy Armour and defending champion Hunter Mahan tied for second on 263 after both shot 65.
Heath Slocum was one shot adrift in fourth with Fiji’s Vijay Singh in fifth on 266.
Cink’s victory came 11 years after he won his first PGA Tour title in the same tournament, then known as the Greater Hartford Open.
Cink went into the final round with a two-shot lead, gave it up, then regained the advantage.
He shrugged off a brief delay caused by a threat of thunderstorms, posting four birdies and one bogey as he claimed the fifth title of his career.
Cink’s only miscue came at the par-four fourth, but he picked up shots with birdies at six and nine to make the turn at one-under, with a one-shot lead over the field.
Cink birdied the par-five 13th before play was suspended, and when play resumed he nabbed his final birdie of the day at the par-four 15th, where he landed a wedge within three feet of the pin.
The 35-year-old, who was the Tour Rookie of the Year when he won here 11 years ago, parred his final three holes to claim his first victory since the 2004 WGC-NEC Invitational.
■ WEGMANS LPGA
AFP, PITTSFORD, NEW YORK
Ji Eun-hee captured her first career LPGA title on Sunday, posting a five-under 67 to beat Suzann Pettersen by two strokes in the US$2 million Wegmans LPGA.
South Korea’s Ji posted seven birdies against two bogeys for her four-round total of 16-under 272.
Norway’s Pettersen, who came into the final round with a three-shot lead over Ji and two others, had three bogeys in the final six holes en route to an even-par 72 for 274.
Ji, meanwhile, had four birdies on the back nine and nearly sank a long birdie putt at the last before settling for par.
Trailing by three at 13, she drained a 30-foot birdie putt as Pettersen took bogey.
“It was a right to left downhill, it was a long putt,” Ji said of 13. “I was aiming to put the ball near the hole, not into the hole. But the ball followed the line that I saw and went into the cup.”
Pettersen, ranked No.3 in the world, was still one shot ahead with four holes to play, but the short 15th proved another turning point as Ji again made a birdie and Pettersen missed the green.
Knowing she had taken the lead, 22-year-old Ji admitted she was “starting to feel nervous,” but she matched Pettersen’s birdie at 17 and held on for the victory which she called “a dream come true.”
Pettersen, winner of the Swiss Open last month, was also positive despite settling for second, saying her performance was encouraging heading into the third major of the season, the US Women’s Open that starts at Interlachen Country Club in Minnesota on Thursday.
“I was working on a few swing things last week and didn’t really expect too much this week,” said Pettersen, who was second in the first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
“It’s good to have come out and played well before the US Open,” she said.
World No.1 and defending champion Lorena Ochoa never really looked like notching her seventh victory of the season.
The Mexican star did post four birdies in the final seven holes en route to a 69 that gave her a share of seventh place.
■ BMW INTERNATIONAL
AFP, MUNICH, GERMANY
Local favorite Martin Kaymer recovered from losing a six-shot lead to win a play-off against Denmark’s Anders Hansen to claim victory in the BMW International Open on Sunday.
Kaymer, last year’s rookie of the year, had a nightmare last round of 75, running up a triple-bogey eight on the long 11th, putting two balls in the lake short of the green.
However the 23-year-old, now sixth in the Ryder Cup race, birdied two holes later and then, needing another on the par-five last to match Hansen’s 15-under-par total, was on in two and almost made a 40-foot putt for eagle and the US$517,647 title.
Back they went to the same hole and while Hansen was in two bunkers Kaymer hit a massive drive and an even better approach to seven feet.
When the two-time European PGA champion three-putted for a bogey six, Kaymer had three for it, but two-putted for birdie.
English trio Paul Casey, John Bickerton and Mark Foster tied for third on 13 under, while Colin Montgoimerie’s 16th place was his best stroke play finish since January.
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