HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Two-time champion Stewart Cink moved into position for a third RBC Heritage title, shooting a second consecutive 63 to set the 36-hole scoring mark at Harbor Town.
Cink, 47, seems relentless following two amazing days. He sits at 16-under 126, five shots in front of Corey Conners. The past best halfway score was 129, set by Jack Nicklaus on the way to triumph in 1975 and coordinated by Phil Mickelson, who wound up third in 2002.
Conners shot 64 and was 11 under. Emiliano Grillo (64) was one more shot behind.
Collin Morikawa, getting ready to guard his PGA Championship title one month from now, was tied for fourth at 9-under with Sungjae Im (65), Billy Horschel (67) and Cameron Smith, who followed his opening-cycle 62 with a 71.
Cink was scarcely overpowered by the scores he posted, crediting them to keen planning and solid execution close by his 24-year-old child, Reagan, who’s assisting for him.
“It doesn’t feel all that special, to be honest with you,” Cink said. “We just kind of worked our game plan.”
It was absolutely sudden. Cink hasn’t completed in the best 20 at Harbor Town in 10 years, hadn’t drove most of the way since the Travelers Championship in 2008 and is nearer to the PGA TOUR Champions than his prime.
However Cink has had a renaissance on golf’s greatest stage this season. He won without precedent for a very long time at the Safeway Open in September and has added five top-20 wraps up including a tie for twelfth a week ago at the Masters.
Cink was down three shots to Conners when he teed off Friday.
Regardless. Cink immediately deleted the shortage with a falcon on the standard 5 second and a birdie on No. 3. Cink moved in front with a birdie on the 6th and consistently fabricated his margin the remainder of the way, including birdies the eleventh, thirteenth, fifteenth and seventeenth openings.
The veteran is two solid rounds away from adding a third plaid coat to the two he procured in 2000 and 2004. In both of those successes, Cink dug out from a deficit on Sunday. This time he’ll have to simply keep up his solid generally play.
Since Reagan turned into his caddie, father and child have been teaming up on procedure before competitions.
“We call it bludgeoning and we’re just bludgeoning that plan almost to death,” the elder Cink said with a grin. “When you manage yourself around a course like that and execute, the golf courses yield.”
Conners entered the week with Masters energy, having tied for eighth at Augusta National for his second top-10 completion there in five months. He birdied seven of his last 13 holes.
“Giving myself lots of chances and was really nice to see some go in,” Conners said. “Hopefully, can keep that up going into the weekend.”
Morikawa had possibilities, as well, He had seven birdie openings from 20 feet or less on his last nine holes, however the one in particular that dropped was a 18-footer on No. 6.
Morikawa said changing breeze conditions made it hard to pass judgment on green paces.
“It was tough not seeing a few birdies in,” he said. “But we’ll work on a few things and be fine for the weekend.”
Smith, who was sans intruder in his opening 62, dropped three shots in a five-opening stretch on Friday.
“I think the golfing gods got a few back on me today,” the Australian said.
Dustin Johnson utilized a back-nine flood to stay away from his subsequent straight missed cut and in the wake of leaving the Masters early, restoring just to slip the green coat on new champ Hideki Matsuyama. Back to back intruder on the fourth and fifth openings at Harbor Town dropped him to 1-under, yet four birdies coming in offered him a 67 and left him 11 chances behind Cink.
Those returning home included Patrick Cantlay, Harris English, Sergio Garcia and Kevin Na, all among the main 30 in the FedExCup standings this season.