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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2008 > PGA Tour > Travelers Championship > Round 4


Stewart Cink clinches narrow victory

Stewart Cink won the Travelers Championship by one shot Sunday after weathering a thunderstorm, an early bogey and late charges from defending champion Hunter Mahan and Tommy Armour III.

Cink shot a 3-under 67 to finish at 18-under for his fifth career victory and first since 2004. Armour (65) and Mahan (65) tied for second.

Cink, who earned his first career win here as a rookie, came into the day with a two-stroke lead over Heath Slocum, but had been just 1-for-9 during his career when leading after 54 holes.

“I know there has been some talk that I have not been a closer,” Cink said. “They had every right to say that, because I felt the same way myself. So I felt that I had something to prove to myself.”

He finished with a career-best 262 over the four rounds, five shots better than his 1997 total of 267. It was his first win after six top-10 finishes this year, earning him $1.08 million. It also pushed him to third place in the FedEx Cup standings behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and into second place in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings.

For a while, it looked as though the tournament was heading for a three-way playoff.

Leading by a stroke, Cink hit a 365-yard tee shot on the 18th into the crowd to the right, and his approach went just over the green. But he recovered nicely, getting up and down from just under 2 feet to save par.

“To stand over that last putt, even though it was only 2 feet long, and to knock it in the middle, it was a great feeling,” he said.

Armour, who at 48 was looking to become the oldest winner on the PGA Tour this season, shot a bogey-free 65. He put his approach on 17 about 4 feet from the pin and made birdie. But he missed a 37-foot putt on 18 that would have given him a share of the lead.

Mahan, looking to become the first repeat champion here since Phil Mickelson in 2002, shot birdie on his final two holes to make it interesting. He hit an 18-foot birdie putt on the 17th, then hit a wedge shot 3 feet from the pin on 18.

Mahan earned his first tour victory here a year ago, making a birdie on the first playoff hole to capture the title over journeyman Jay Williamson. Mahan tied for second behind J.J. Henry in 2006.

“I played really well,” he said. “I had a chance to win on the back nine on Sunday, so I couldn’t be more happy.”

Slocum was on Cink’s heels for most of the round. But Cink matched him birdie for birdie on the 6th, 9th, 13th and 15th holes.

Cink hit the green on 16 and made par. Slocum came up short, pitched his ball well right and ended with a bogey that knocked him two shots behind, where he finished.

“I positioned myself nicely. I just didn’t hit a few more quality shots,” Slocum said. “Obviously, I needed to hole a few more putts.”

Cink played tentatively for most of the front nine. He three-putted on the fourth hole, dropping into a tie with Vijay Singh and Armour. He regained sole possession of the lead on the ninth, sinking a 21-foot downhill putt for birdie. His birdie on the 13th hole kept him one shot up.

Singh was in contention for the championship until the par-5 13th, which he had birdied each of the previous three days. He hit his tee shot right and into the water, and finished with a bogey. He finished in fifth place at 14 under.

“I had chances on the front nine, but I did not capitalize,” he said.

After three consecutive days of calm winds and soft greens, conditions deteriorated on Sunday. In an effort to out-race predicted thunderstorms, tournament officials moved the start up to 7:30 a.m. and had the golfers going in threesomes off the first and 10th tees.

The winds began picking up and play was suspended for just over an hour when thunder began rumbling over the course shortly before 1 p.m.

“Fortunately, we’ve been playing in wind, so the thing that was abnormal was no wind the first couple of days,” Armour said. “It was no problem.”



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