Stewart Cink's iron play hasn't been as crisp as he had hoped this week. (Getty Images)
Defending champ Cink saves his big highlight for last
Stewart Cink hung right around par for the first 17 holes of his third round. Then he drove right up next to the 18th green and rolled in a 50-footer for eagle to cap off his day in a big way.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- Stewart Cink gave the Scottish fans something to cheer about around mid-day Saturday when he rolled in a 50-footer from off the green for an eagle at the 18th hole to close oout his third round of the British Open. That gave the defending champion a third-round 71 and left him at 1 under for the tournament.
"I hit a 3-wood off the tee because it was downwind so much, and I was a little fearful going through the back, and the rough is so bad," Cink said. "… I pulled my putter out of the bag before I even left the tee. I told Frank (Williams), my caddie, it’s nice to have a long walk with a putter. It was a really long walk, about 340 yards. It was nice to only hit the putter once, too."
Other than the eagle, though, Cink didn’t think he took advantage of what the Old Course was dishing out on Saturday.
"It was a little less windy, still was a big factor, the wind," Cink said. "There’s some holes that are a little freer because of being on the downwind side of the green rather than the opposite side like yesterday. I think today you’ll see some good scores out of the rest of the field. The guys that are playing really well that have gotten themselves farther under par will probably put up some good scores. I think there’s some mid-to-high 60s out there for someone who plays a really good round."
Iron play, in particular, has held Cink back this week. He only hit 12 greens on Friday and 14 on Saturday. He’s used 97 putts on the big greens at the Old Course, too.
“These greens are so big, they almost lull you to sleep, into playing what you think are good shots, and you get up on the green and you’re 40, 50 feet from the hole, and you’re just not going to make a lot of those putts,” Cink said. "It takes a little bit of extra focus, and I haven’t had quite that edge here this week, but maybe tomorrow I can come out and find it and train myself into having a good round, and you never know."