RBC Heritage 2021: Stewart Cink Leads After Historic 36-Hole Start

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIApril 16, 2021

Stewart Cink hits off the 14th tee during the second round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament in Hilton Head Island, S.C., Friday, April 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

Entering the 2020-21 season, Stewart Cink hadn't picked up a PGA Tour victory since winning The Open Championship in 2009. After Friday's performance at the RBC Heritage, he's 36 holes from picking up his second victory since September. 

The 47-year-old from Alabama re-emerged in a major way this week, posting two consecutive rounds of 63 at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, South Carolina to take an eye-popping five-stroke lead into Saturday at 16-under par. 


🔥 16-UNDER 🔥 @StewartCink can't be stopped. https://t.co/QT5VjGg1vc

Not only is Cink the oldest 36-hole leader in RBC Heritage history, but he's also set a 36-hole course record, surpassing the 13-under par mark previously set by Jack Nicklaus in 1975 and tied by Phil Mickelson in 2002. It'll take a masterful moving day effort from the field in order to catch him at this rate. Here's where things stand after two rounds of play in South Carolina.


RBC Heritage Saturday Leaderboard

1. Stewart Cink (-16)

2. Corey Conners (-11)

3. Emiliano Grillo (-10)

T4. Cameron Smith (-9)

T4. Collin Morikawa (-9)

T4. Sungjae Im (-9)

T4. Billy Horschel (-9)

T8. Wesley Bryan (-8)

T8. Tom Hoge (-8)

T8. Harold Varner III (-8)

Notables: T11. Shane Lowry (-7), T11. Will Zalatoris (-7), T19. Ian Poulter (-5), T19. Dustin Johnson (-5), Cut. Patrick Cantlay (E), Cut. Sergio Garcia (+1)

Full leaderboard available via PGA Tour.


Let the eagle fly, @DJohnsonPGA. 🦅 https://t.co/XOTxebKaoD


Just INCHES short of an ace. 😫 Bittersweet birdie @ShaneLowryGolf. https://t.co/t5raguOQcV



Cink put on an absolute clinic Friday, starting his day with an eagle on the par-five second hole and finishing with six more birdies and no bogeys. The veteran made 77.8 percent of his greens in regulation and gained 2.8 strokes putting.


7-under on the day. 15-under in the tournament. @StewartCink leads by FOUR. 🔥 https://t.co/QPb2gsqvda


Shots like this are why @StewartCink leads by 2. 💪 https://t.co/lH0mlKC1T8

Every shot seemed to go straight towards the cup and leave Cink with a birdie opportunity. After posting three birdies on the front nine, Cink didn't go more than one hole without making a birdie on the back nine.

And he still had time to argue with caddie—his son Reagan—over who would drive the golf cart.


Classic father-son relationship between @StewartCink and Reagan. 😂 https://t.co/AjIgSMvcyS

That doesn't mean there aren't strong players still in the field capable of catching him.

Corey Conners and Emiliano Grillo tied for the second-lowest rounds on Friday with each posting a 64. Collin Morikawa dropped one spot on the leaderboard from Thursday, but is still nine-under par and looking rather comfortable on the course after finishing tied for 18th at The Masters.

One of last week's most enjoyable surprises, Will Zalatoris, remains in the hunt as well. The emerging star is tied for 11th place and seven-under par and has shot under 70 in the first two rounds this weekend.


Imagine not liking this tee shot. 😳 @WillZalatoris picks up his third birdie of the day. https://t.co/vmWAKonu0g


178 yards ➡️ 5 feet. 🎯 The aggressive play from @WillZalatoris is paying off. https://t.co/ZEKOuafjmo


Birdie from off the green. 🕳 @WillZalatoris can do it all. https://t.co/75Uup6NpdR

Zalatoris had an up-and-down front nine, but finished with six birdies and two bogeys. As much room as he has to improve on Saturday, he made more than 70 percent of his greens in regulation Friday and should find himself squarely in the mix on Sunday if he can replicate that success Saturday.

Last year's RBC Heritage winner, Webb Simpson (three-under), improved his play slightly from Friday. After an opening round 71, Simpson took three strokes off his score Saturday. That has him tied for 40th and just barely inside the two-under cut line.

A few notable names including Tommy Fleetwood, Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, Patrick Cantlay and Sergio Garcia weren't as fortunate.

They'll all be heading home early after failing to make the cut.