Cink Uses Experience to Beat the Young Guns
Following up his earlier victory this season at the Safeway Open, Stewart Cink did it again and ran away with the RBC Heritage this past weekend. This time, he essentially won the tournament by blitzing the field on Thursday and Friday with a pair of 63s to set the 36-hole scoring mark for the tournament. Cink made it look easy those first two days with his well rounded game, allowing him to coast down the finish. He was never truly challenged on Sunday and cruised to a four-stroke victory and his second of the season as a 47-year-old. Using the Strokes Gained analysis from V1 Game, it is clear that Cink did the separating with all areas of his game on the first two days.
Cink was hitting it close and making putts, a time-honored recipe for success. Interestingly enough, his putting started to wane over the weekend despite his irons staying relatively hot on Saturday. He actually lost over a stroke to the field on each weekend day with his putter.
Still, by that point, Cink just needed to avoid mistakes and force someone to make a big run to catch him. That big run never came and the leader did an excellent job of avoiding mistakes over the course of four rounds. Part of minimizing mistakes is a newly-implemented risk system created by Cink and his son, now caddie. Cink simply takes environmental and course condition factors into play and grades the shot as red, yellow, or green. This helps him pick conservative targets that he can be aggressive to and prevents costly errors.
In fact, using V1 Game’s Virtual Coach, Cink had 0 three putts, 0 two chips, and only a single penalty on the week. He played nearly to his potential and maximized his return on the excellent ball striking. If there was anything to improve on for Cink, V1 Game tells us it would be driving, followed by putting. However, that would just further elevate him above the field. He led the week in Strokes Gained Tee2Green and in Greens in Regulation (GIR).
Not only was Cink hitting greens (almost 80 percent of them), he was also hitting iron and wedge shots close. Using the V1 Game proximity view, Cink averaged six feet for shots inside 75 yards and just 24 feet for shots from 175-200 yards. Talk about stuffing it! This takes a tremendous amount of pressure off of his putter where he was not challenged to lag from great distances.
The histogram view from V1 Game shows Cink gained significant strokes on the field from each yardage bucket under 200 yards. While he lost strokes off the tee and with mid-range putts, Stewart was solid throughout the bag with no real weakness. When he did miss the rare green, his short game was up to the task and made it easy for him to scramble for those crucial par saves.
Most 47-year-old PGA Tour players have more of an eye towards the PGA Tour Champions, which becomes available at 50 years of age, however Cink has found a way to compete with the young guns. Consistent golf and solid ball striking is always rewarded. His golf was impressive and the change to his son as caddie seems to be paying dividends. If you need your own caddie that can help you choose the right targets and pull the right club, download the free V1 Game app today and take advantage of the Virtual Caddie. Virtual Caddie learns from your golf and helps give specific advice tuned to your game, much like a seasoned caddie on the PGA Tour. Whether you are learning the game or a seasoned veteran like Stewart Cink, V1 Game can help you play your best golf at any age.
Download V1 Game in the app store today and start tracking your golf performance like the pros.