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Stewart Cink

Stewart Cink

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By Mark Lamport-StokesTURNBERRY, Scotland (Reuters) - Stewart Cink felt no sense of guilt after spoiling the script for what would have been the most astonishing major victory of all time by fellow American Tom Watson at the British Open on Sunday.Watson, 59, was bidding to become golf's oldest major champion but threw away a one-stroke lead with one hole to play before losing out to the ice-cool Cink in a four-hole playoff."I don't feel ashamed, I don't feel disappointed," an elated Cink told reporters after clinching his first major title on a blustery day of sunshine on Turnberry's Ailsa Course."I'm pleased as punch that I've won this tournament and also proud of the way Tom Watson played.

He showed not only how great a golfer he is but what a great game we all play, the longevity that can exist, for a guy to come out and compete."Whether Tom was 59 or 29, he was one of the field," added Cink, who was born just two years before Watson won the first of his five British Open titles at Carnoustie in 1975."I had to play against everybody in the field and the course to come out on top.

I'm engulfed by the joy.

In the end, it's a tournament to see who lasts the longest.

It's a survival test out there."Asked whether he felt as if he had come in at the end of a sentimental Hollywood movie and stolen the girl, Cink replied: "As long as the result is I get the girl, I'm okay with that."The 36-year-old conceded, however, that the notion of going head-to-head with one of the greatest players of the 1970s and 1980s was mind boggling.WILDEST DREAMS"I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be playing against Tom Watson," he said.

"That would be beyond even my mind's imagination capabilities."But after playing with him in the practice round this year at the U.S.

Masters, I would have told you I don't really ever want to go up against him because of the way he hits it."He's so solid and hits the right shot.

The same Tom Watson that won this tournament in '77 was the same guy who showed up here this week.

And he just about did it.

He beat everybody but one guy.

And it was really special."Thirty-two years ago, Watson outduelled Jack Nicklaus to win the first Open staged at Turnberry.Cink, who had previously triumphed five times on the PGA Tour, did not move to the top of the leaderboard at Turnberry until he rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole."I just knew I wanted to try to make that putt," he said after carding a one-under-par 69 in the final round for a two-under total of 278.� Continued...View article on single page

http://www.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idUSTRE56I2F920090719?virtualBrandChannel=10522
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