Not Purdy But Cink Wins MCI Heritage

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Stewart Cink birdied the fifth playoff hole on Sunday to defeat overnight leader Ted Purdy and win the Heritage.
 
Cink overcame a nine-shot deficit in the final round to win for the third time on the PGA Tour. The tour record for largest final-round comeback is Paul Lawrie's 10-shot turnaround at the 1999 British Open, but Cink's is the biggest on American soil.
 
'I'm playing well. I've been consistent this year,' said Cink, who pocketed $864,000 for his first win on tour since this event in 2000. 'I've waited a few years for it and it feels great.'
 
At the par-4 16th at Harbour Town Golf Links, Cink drove into a collection area on the left side. Purdy found the first cut on the right and knocked his approach through the green. Cink hit a spectacular iron shot from 75 yards to 6 feet.
 
Purdy, who squandered a four-stroke lead on Sunday, chipped 8 feet past the cup, then drained the par save to apply the pressure to Cink. Cink responded and holed the putt for his second Heritage title.
 
After the putt, it seemed that Cink would don the plaid blazer for the victor. However, rules officials needed a moment of his time. Fans called in and thought that Cink improved his lie on the final hole.
 
Cink drove into a waste area and was allowed to move loose impediments and ground his club, unlike if he were in a regular bunker. The video showed that Cink might have moved some of the sand, which he could not do, but officials ultimately ruled that he did nothing wrong.
 
Now Cink was the champion.
 
'I just moved rocks out of the way,' said Cink. 'We determined that I did everything within the rules. I did what I was told I could do.'
 
Cink fired a final-round, 7-under 64 while Purdy, still in search of his first win on the PGA Tour, struggled to a 2-over 73. The duo finished regulation knotted at 10-under-par 274.
 
Both players had to work in order to reach minus-10. Cink, who played two hours ahead of Purdy, drained an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th to get to 10 under par. Purdy missed the green at the par-3 17th and chipped 16 feet past the hole. He rolled home the par save but missed a 10-foot birdie chance on the 72nd hole that would have won the tournament.
 
The first extra hole was 18 and both players two-putted for par. The 16th was the second playoff hole and the duo had problems off the tee. Cink was in the short grass but had a tree in front of him and Purdy fortunately hit a cart that kept his ball in bounds on the right. Purdy came up short of the green with his second and Cink's ball spun back to 20 feet. Purdy chipped to 5 feet and Cink missed his birdie try, meaning Purdy had to make his par putt to extend the playoff, which he did.
 
At the 17th, Cink had 10 feet for birdie and Purdy had almost double that length. Neither made their putts but Cink would have a tremendous opportunity on the fourth sudden-death hole.
 
The pair was at the 18th tee for the third time on Sunday and both found the fairway. Purdy, who was 30 yards behind Cink, could not get a 7-iron to the green, instead landing near the front bunker. Cink hit a pitching-wedge from 146 yards to 6 feet. Purdy chipped two feet below the hole but was granted new life when Cink's putt never grazed the cup. Both tapped in for pars to set up the win for Cink at 16.
 
'It was a long day,' said Cink. 'I played great today. It was a roller-coaster ride. I feel very fortunate.'
 
Purdy, who won the Nationwide Tour's First Tee Arkansas Classic this week last year, failed to get into the winner's circle for the first time on the PGA Tour but the second-place money will probably seal up his card for 2005.
 
'I wanted to win,' said Purdy. 'I don't play for the money. I'm out here trying to win golf tournaments. I was close.'
 
Ernie Els, who came in second to Phil Mickelson last week at the Masters, posted a 2-under 69 on Sunday and shared third place. Carl Pettersson (67) and Patrick Sheehan (70) joined the three-time major winner at 8-under-par 276.
 
At the start of the round it looked like everyone would be chasing Purdy but Cink stole the show on Sunday.
 
He birdied two of his first three holes, then ran home an 18-footer for eagle at the fifth. Cink closed out his front nine with a 21-foot birdie to get back in the hunt.
 
Cink traded a birdie for a bogey at 10 and 11, but sank an 8-footer for birdie at 15. He played one of the best shots to 18 all week as he made another 8-footer for birdie. Cink was in the clubhouse at 10 under par and Purdy was on the 10th hole.
 
Purdy hit a 4-iron over the hole but through the green at No. 10. His chip came up short of the green and he missed the par putt, giving him a one-shot lead.
 
He dropped a shot at the par-5 15th but still came close to his first win.
 
Davis Love III, the 2003 champion and five-time winner of this event, posted a 1-over 72 and tied for 32nd at 1-under-par 283.
 
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  • Leaderboard - MCI Heritage
  • Full Coverage - MCI Heritage