In most professional sports leagues, being a rookie can be a daunting task. On the PGA TOUR Champions, it’s a huge opportunity. Turning 50 for a golfer who stayed competitive through his 40s can be a lucrative endeavor. Stewart Cink, an eight-time winner on the PGA TOUR, turned 50 on May 21, and is making his debut among the over-50 set this week at Fields Ranch East at PGA Frisco. He is off to a nice start, too.

Through 36 holes at Fields Ranch East, Cink currently shares the lead with Padraig Harrington. He shot a pair of 4-under-par 68s in his Maiden Major on the PGA Tour Champions.

“There's a lot of guys I keep up with, we text and stuff back and forth. But I don't ever see 'em,” Cink said. “Guys that I've been friends with since my kids were tiny. So I’ve gotten to see a lot of those guys and catch up with 'em and spend a little bit of time. I can see why guys really enjoy playing on the PGA TOUR Champions or the senior majors, it's really, it's fun. And after you've been in the grind for a long time – it's a grind out here too, the guys play great. But it's just, out here, it's like grinding with a smile.”

Cink, who edged Tom Watson to win the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry in Scotland, hasn’t had his best stuff thus far on the PGA TOUR in 2023. In 16 starts, he has missed eight cuts and counts only one top-25 finish (T-21, Sony Open) on his record. Part of his lull, he says, is due to his youngest son, Reagan, not being on his bag.

Three years ago, Reagan was offered a job at Delta Airlines that got put on hold with COVID-19, and was looking for something to do. He came out to caddie for his dad for a week in California, they won (2020 Fortinet Championship), and Reagan stayed on the bag for a longer run. The father-son tandem would win twice together; Stewart said the two are always ‘caddying’ for one another when they play at home, and Reagan is so much like his dad. He misses his voice out there.

“It was such a fun time, regardless of the results,” Stewart Cink said. “When he went back to work and basically ‘fired’ me, I wasn't really prepared for how like kind of devastated I would feel on the inside. Not that I was really devastated, but it did kind of like take me a little while to dig out of that hole. I just was not really myself for the last half a year or so. And the last, I don't know, say three or four weeks, I've just been feeling a little bit, physically, a little bit more in command over the ball."

Lisa Cink, Stewart’s wife and mother to their two sons, has taken a turn on the bag this season once Reagan went to work at Delta. Stewart jokes that she doesn’t know a lot about golf, but she certainly knows him, and that’s a big plus. Lisa is doing well after being diagnosed with cancer a few years back.

“We're having fun. That's really what it's all about,” Stewart said. “When you have a good time, you have a good attitude and you're enjoying it, then lower scores tend to follow you.”

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