COMCAST BUSINESS TOP 10
Monday Finish: Five things from RBC Heritage
April 19, 2021
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
- Stewart Cink and son Reagan (also Cink’s caddie) celebrating walking down 18 at Harbour Town Golf Links. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Admit it. Part of you thought Stewart Cink would come back to the field over the weekend at Harbour Town. That’s OK. You weren’t alone.
Those doubting the veracity of his resurgence despite his season opening win could just point to his slide down the FedExCup – until now. The 47-year-old veteran can no longer be denied after an incredible – and never in doubt – second win of the season at the RBC Heritage.
He moved to third in the FedExCup and inside the top 50 of the world rankings (44th) for the first time since January 2011.
Here are five stories you may have missed from the RBC Heritage.
1. Like a fine wine…
Stewart Cink’s resurgence could certainly be one to easily dismiss after his season opening win in Napa last fall. It was a great story; it was his first win in over 11 years; he had his son on the bag; it was his other sons birthday – it was no doubt cool but just had that feeling of being a great story that might fade into obscurity by seasons end.
Even when Cink was T4 at the Bermuda Championship and closed out the 2020 portion of the 2020-21 season at third in the FedExCup there was still plenty prepared to say he wouldn’t make the TOUR Championship.
And that narrative appeared to be playing out when he sat 26th in the standings heading to the RBC Heritage with five missed cuts and zero top 10s in the 10 starts since the aforementioned trip to Bermuda in early November.
That was until the 47-year-old dominated Harbour Town over four days to cruise to a four-shot win – his third triumph at the venue (2000, 2004), second win of the season, and eighth career TOUR trophy.
“He's old as… He's old and he's kicking everyone's ass,” runner-up Harold Varner III said. “It inspires me. It inspires me to know that I can play golf for a long time. He's been playing well all year, though, so it's not like I'm surprised, but this week he's played unbelievable.”
Now, there is no denying the comeback, and Cink becomes a genuine threat to win the FedExCup. Check out the secret behind it all here.
2. DJ gains late momentum with putter switch.
In Sunday’s final round FedExCup champion Dustin Johnson picked up a new putter and found exactly what he was looking for – momentum.
After missing the cut in his title defense at the Masters Johnson had hoped to rebound hard at Hilton Head but it wasn’t until making over 145 feet of putts and carding a 5-under 66 on Sunday that he felt comfortable.
The round saw him jump 23 spots on the leaderboard to ultimately finish T13 but more importantly head off with optimism.
“I feel like I haven’t putted really well for the last few weeks… so that’s kind of really why (I switched),” Johnson said of his new TP Bandon 1 from TaylorMade’s new TP line, to be released this summer.
“I’ve just been struggling with my putter. I kept with it, kept practicing, kept grinding, but it wasn’t really getting any better, so sometimes it’s just time for a change.”
3. Conners stamping class, on International PCup radar.
A week after finishing in the top-10 at the Masters (T8) Canadian Corey Conners (T4) was once again inside the mark at the RBC Heritage.
Already a winner on the TOUR Conners appears to be quietly stalking further success having positioned himself up to 14th in the FedExCup with four top 10s in his last six starts and seven top-10s in total this season.
Conners is a ball-striking machine, constantly setting up birdie opportunities that he may not always convert. But when he putts just half decent, he’s a serious threat. He hit 17 of 18 greens in the opening round before things became a little looser. Yet still, he was able to finish in the top 4. When it comes together over four rounds, look out.
And you can be sure his form is being closely monitored by International Presidents Cup team captain Trevor Immelman. Although over a year away, the next Cup will be played at nearby Quail Hollow, and Conners was close to getting a call up for Melbourne in 2019.
4. Smith shows final round fighting spirit.
Cameron Smith, like Conners, backed up a Masters top 10 with another at Harbour Town. But the Australian needed to show some spirit to do so after a demoralizing third round.
Having posted a career best 62 to open the tournament Smith fell back with a rough Saturday at Hilton Head, the 74 ruining all hope of a victory.
But the short game maestro loves a fight and has made a point to stop giving up FedExCup points with lazy Sundays. There’s a clear change in Smith’s game this season that will push him to another win soon – his final round scoring average.
In the past Smith spent some Sunday’s going through the motions when a win was out of reach. Now he fights to the death.
His final round scoring average sits at 69.25 this season so far, ranking 22nd on TOUR. It was 70.00 (63rd) in 2020; 71.19 in 2019 (158th); 69.71 in 2018 (40th); 70.87 in 2017 (122nd) and 72.64 in 2016 (175th).
5. Varner III notches career best finish on way to “his major”.
A 14-foot birdie on the last at Harbour Town might not have been for the win for the man affectionately known as HV3 but it was significant none-the-less. The T2 finish is his highest to date on the PGA TOUR, eclipsing the T3 from THE NORTHERN TRUST in the 2019 FedExCup Playoffs.
While a win was always a long shot on Sunday – especially after hitting the ball OB on the first and needing to chip in just for bogey – Varner III fought hard throughout his round to close with a nice 66.
It was a timely result as he gears up for his home event – the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.
“I really love playing golf. I always have, always will, whether I play out here or not. Today was good. And the birdie at the last was awesome,” Varner III said. “Obviously I want to play well at the Wells Fargo. That's my major. I know the PGA is coming, but that's an important place to me, so I want to play well there, and I need to start now building up to get there, so super excited.”
COMCAST BUSINESS TOUR TOP 10
This week Last week Player name Points 1 1 Bryson DeChambeau 1,577 2 2 Justin Thomas 1,552 3 26 Stewart Cink 1,348 4 3 Xander Schauffele 1,335 5 4 Patrick Cantlay 1,280 6 5 Viktor Hovland 1,259 7 6 Jordan Spieth 1,250 8 7 Hideki Matsuyama 1,244 9 8 Dustin Johnson 1,194 10 11 Billy Horschel 1,100
The Comcast Business TOUR TOP 10 highlights and rewards the extraordinary level of play required to earn a spot in the TOP 10 at the conclusion of the FedExCup regular season. The competition will conclude prior to the FedExCup PLAYOFFS where the top 10 FedExCup points leaders will be recognized and awarded as the most elite in golf. Week after week, shot after shot, each event matters more than ever before. Who will finish in the Comcast Business TOUR TOP 10?