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Stewart Cink rues missed putting chances

Two weeks after putting too tentatively against Tiger Woods, an emotionally bruised Stewart Cink was annoyed to make the same mistake and self-destruct at the Tampa Bay Championship.

American Cink wasted an early four-shot lead in Sunday's final round with missed birdie opportunities, four bogeys and a double-bogey to finish joint second behind Sean O'Hair.

It was the ninth time in 10 attempts that Cink had failed to win a PGA Tour title after holding at least a share of the lead going into the final round.

"It's not coincidence," the 34-year-old told reporters after closing with a three-over-par 74.

"I just haven't played very good rounds. I tend to be less aggressive on my putting. It's like I'm a little bit tentative.

"You don't have room to be that way when you've got the best players in the world lined up behind you ready to pounce on my mistakes. I got to keep on getting myself in these situations and just get a little more comfortable."

Cink has posted three top-three finishes in five PGA Tour starts this year, including a runner-up spot behind world number one Woods at last month's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

His experience against Woods was a humbling one, though, as he suffered a record 8&7 thrashing in the 36-hole final in Marana, Arizona.

"Against Tiger, I was a little bit tentative and I was a little bit angry with myself," Cink, a four-times winner on the PGA Tour, recalled.

"I had a heart-to-heart with myself, in a way looking in the mirror after that tournament. And I told myself that I was not going to do that any more. That I was going to stay on the task.

"I did a job of that today for the most part, but I wasn't able to convert when I had a chance to convert, to jump through the hoop."

The lowest point for Cink on Sunday came when he double-bogeyed the par-four 16th.

"I hit a bad drive and that really was the nail in the coffin," he said. "It all just sort of disappeared so quickly. I'm a little bit shell-shocked and a little bit angry all at the same time."


March 11, 2008

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