Rejuvenated Cink back in contention at PGA Championship

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              Stewart Cink, left, and Tiger Woods shake hands following the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Stewart Cink felt as if he’d traveled back in time on Saturday, playing with Tiger Woods and all that entails — the massive crowds, the raucous cheering and the mind-bending intensity.

“Kind of reminded me of being in the vortex a lot of years ago,” Cink said with a smile.

It wasn’t just playing with a rejuvenated Woods, though. The 45-year-old Cink played a lot like he did in his younger days, shooting a 4-under 66 in his third round at the PGA Championship to climb into contention heading into the final round at Bellerive Country Club.

“Being in Tiger’s group is always exciting,” said Cink, who was tied with Woods four shots off the lead. “Players try to downplay it, and I’ve downplayed it over the years myself, but it’s a pretty intense environment out there. It’s fun.”

Cink was one of the best players in the world a decade ago, winning six times on the PGA Tour over the years. But he hasn’t won since capturing his only major, when he triumphed over the seemingly ageless Tom Watson in a playoff to win the 2009 British Open at Turnberry.

Cink had only made 13 of 18 cuts this year, though he did tie for second at the Travelers. He was also in the top 5 the week before that at the St. Jude, a sign his game was rounding into shape.

It helps there are plenty of similarities between Bellerive and his home course of East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, ranging from the zoysia fairways to the soft greens.

“It kind of feels a little bit like home to me, and I’m very familiar with it, the way it’s going to react,” Cink said. “It just feels like the club is jumping out of the bag, whatever one that is on the right hole. It’s been a comfortable week for me. I haven’t driven it perfectly or anything, but decisive — decision-making has been a good part of my game this week.”