Stewart Cink is looking to win The Open Champion for the second time. (Redington/Getty Images)
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GULLANE, Scotland -- Stewart Cink was almost philosophical following his round of 72 at Murifield on Thursday.
The 2009 Open champ was on the leaderboard as he played the front nine in 2 under. But he couldn't build on that solid start, hitting a few "crooked tee balls" on the way to four bogeys and a lone birdie on the back.
Not that Cink was obsessing over the round of 1 over.
"I'm not looking back saying, why did I do that?" Cink said. "You're going to make some bogeys. The golf course is playing easy and it's playing tough at the same time."
Cink said keeping the ball on the hard-pan fairways was the key. He only hit seven in the first round and followed with 12 of 18 greens.
"If you miss the fairways, you've got a lot of work to do because of the guessing that has to happen with all the roll you're getting, especially from the rough with a flier," he said. "You almost have no idea how far you're going to hit it. And the greens were picking up speed."
Cink said he three-putted the 14th hole from 40 feet -- sending his first putt 15 feet past the hole. The wind was relatively calm at about 10 mph, which Cink said was just enough to make a player think twice about trajectory and club selection.
"I was walking up the 17th hole thinking, I don't know if I've ever had this much fun playing a course in a tournament that meant so much," he said. "It's so much fun out there. Every shot is like a chess match. It's exactly what links ought to be, really."