Stewart Cink opened the 2021 RBC Heritage with back-to-back rounds of 63 to set a new 36-hole tournament record. Those low numbers gave the Alabama native such a cushion that even after a workmanlike third-round 69, he will enter Sunday’s finale at Harbour Town with a commanding five-stroke advantage.
Cink’s 18-under 195 also set a tournament record for lowest 54-hole score. The mark had been held for nearly 20 years by Justin Leonard (16-under 197, 2002).
On Saturday, the 47-year old veteran, and two-time Heritage champion relied more on his experience with all the nooks and crannies of Pete Dye’s masterpiece, than any kind of particular statistic. He finished with one bogey offset by three birdies and 14 pars – many of them by the way of savvy scrambling.
“I had a chance to shoot a really low round, and I didn’t really shoot incredibly low, but it was still a solid day, and the conditions were a little bit more difficult today and more wind. Course was really dry,” said Cink, who has been reborn the past two seasons, after falling off the radar for much of the past decade.
“All in all, I’m pleased with the way I played. I handled myself pretty well and I put myself in position to — I’m halfway to home compared to where I was yesterday.
“It would be — I think tomorrow I could play another round like this, and our game plan still held and it was good and there was no surprises out there really for the most part.
“All in all I think it was a success.”
Reigning PGA champion Collin Morikawa was 13 under following a 67, one clear of Emiliano Grillo (69).
Matt Wallace (65) and Sung-jae Im (69) were T4 on 11 under.
Corey Conners, who started the day in second-place, five shots back of Cink, posted a 72 and was among a group of four on 10 under, and eight off the pace.
Defending champion Webb Simpson joined that -10 group with a low-round 64.
2021 RBC Heritage
Top-5 Leaders: Round 3
Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 3)
1. Stewart Cink -18 (-2)
2. Collin Morikawa -13 (-4)
3. Emiliano Grillo -12 (-2)
4. Matt Wallace -11 (-6)
4. Sungjae Im -11 (-2)
Material from PGA Tour Media & Communications was used to compile report.