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Stewart Cink set for Travelers title defence

Despite being weary after tying for 27th at the weather-delayed U.S. Open on Monday, Stewart Cink returns to a happy hunting ground for his title defence at this week’s Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.

The American’s one-shot triumph 12 months ago ended a victory drought of almost four years on the PGA Tour and he enjoys a high comfort level at the TPC River Highlands.

“It’s great to be back here, for a lot of reasons,” Cink told reporters on the eve of Thursday’s opening round.

“I feel like I’m in a different place than I was last year because I came in here last year with a ton of really good finishes and no wins to speak of. This year I come in with very few good finishes on the year and no wins to speak of.”

Cink, a five-times winner on the PGA Tour, has posted just two top-10s in 14 starts this season, including a tie for eighth at the Memorial tournament three weeks ago.

“My game has suffered a little bit, especially the second half of last year,” the 36-year-old said. “But it’s getting better now and I’ve changed a lot of things up. I’m really encouraged right now.

“Without trying to put too much pressure on myself, I love playing here and I feel like my golf game is getting there, so we’ll see.”

Cink, who has been encouraged by his form on the greens since switching back to a short putter from a long one last month, faces a strong field at River Highlands.

Five of the world’s top 20 are taking part, including fourth-ranked Sergio Garcia, Fiji’s Vijay Singh (ninth) and American Lucas Glover, who rocketed to 18th from 71st after winning the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black on Monday.

Glover, who held off late charges by compatriots Phil Mickelson and David Duval to clinch his first major title, was uncertain about his expectations this week.

“I haven’t thought that far ahead to be honest with you,” the 29-year-old said.

“I can’t get my expectations too high. I hate the saying, but it’s true: one shot at a time. I’ll have the same mindset as last week: be patient and see how many birdies I can make.

“But I expect to play well. As hard as I’ve been working and as well as I’ve been playing, it would be foolish not to expect to play well.”


June 25, 2009

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