Halfway hut at the RBC Heritage: Cink clear as Masters betting theory debunked

A round-up of the best stats, quotes and social after 36 holes of the 2021 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina

There's a well-worn theory when it comes to betting on the RBC Heritage that you shouldn't back anyone who did well at the previous week's Masters.

The thinking is that they'll be mentally frazzled after being in contention at Augusta. And the stats back it up.

Last year doesn't count as this event and the Masters were played in different parts of the calendar. But before that, 10 of the last 13 winners at the RBC Heritage had either not played at Augusta or missed the cut.

So far this year a completely different story is being written.

Stewart Cink (-16) has roared into a five-shot lead after two brilliant rounds of 63. Cink performed strongly at Augusta, finishing tied 12th.

Corey Conners is his nearest challenger at -11 after a Friday 64. That would be the same Corey Conners who went into the final round at Augusta in sixth place and finished tied eighth.

Third-placed Emiliano Grillo (-10) didn't play last week's major but fourth-placed Cameron Smith and Collin Morikawa (both -9) did. Aussie Smith finished tied 10th while Morikawa took tied 18th.

If there's one player the theory said you must surely swerve this week it was Will Zalatoris. The youngster was incredible on his Masters debut, finishing runner-up, but the chance of mental let-down here was enormous after being under such great pressure.

He admitted as much on day one. "Admittedly, I'm a little fried from last week," said the 24-year-old.

And yet a check of the leaderboard shows Zalatoris in tied 11th on 7-under.

Perhaps it's fitting that Cink is leading the charge to smash this popular post-Masters theory.

Cink is the poster boy for excelling in tournaments played the week following a major as, incredibly, the first five wins of his PGA Tour career all came after one. Two of them were at this very course.

Five-shot leads at halfway are more than handy although history says they're not a done deal.

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But Cink is in the box seat and has a great chance to secure his second win of the season as he heads into the weekend. Here's how the bookies see it:

Paddy Power odds after 36 holes: 11/8 Cink, 11/2 Conners, 15/2 Morikawa, 12/1 Smith, 14/1 Grillo, Im, 16/1 Horschel, 25/1 Fitzpatrick, 33/1 Zalatoris, Ancer, 35/1 Lowry.

Here are the best stats, quotes and social from Harbour Town Golf Club after 36 holes.

Click here for the leaderboard

Stats

Cink has beaten the previous RBC Heritage 36-hole record by three strokes in shooting 16-under 126.

Not surprisingly, his stats are pretty sensational.

The 47-year-old leads the field in Strokes Gained: Approach (6.556) and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (9.626).

He's also 3rd for Strokes Gained: Putting (5.279) and has a 100% record from the bunkers so far, getting up and down four times out of four.

Looking at his scorecard, Cink has made two eagles, 13 birdies and just a single bogey.

Surprisingly, he hasn't held a halfway lead since the 2008 Travelers Championship, a tournament he went on to win. Cink has converted two of his last three halfway leads which bodes well.

What will also help is his recent win at the Safeway Open. That victory in September was secured with 21-under and ended an 11-year win drought that had set in since he famously outlasted Tom Watson to win the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry in a playoff.

Quotes

Stewart Cink after his second 63

"It doesn't feel like anything all that special to be honest. We just kind of worked our game plan. I don't know. We haven't had too much wind, and so this course without a lot of wind, there's just not that many surprises when you have a lot of experience around here, and I think we've kind of gotten what we expected out of most of our shots, and we've put it in the right place a lot, and really the key is we haven't put it in the wrong place very often. Good execution has led to some good scores.

"There's a lot of work still to come, and I've seen leads like this go away quickly and I've seen leads like this expand really quickly. I don't see any reason to change what I'm doing. I want to double down on a couple of my little things. I didn't feel like I was quite as clean on the ball-striking today, so I want to double down on some of that stuff and just keep the plain goal with him and get some good rest."

Reagan Cink - Stewart's son who is caddying for him

"I think I call the shots. He listens to me most of the time. It's a blast out there. We operate on the same wavelength pretty much all the time, so we get to joke around and have a great time in between shots, even when the stakes are pretty high and he's playing really well. And then it's efficient planning when we get to the shots, so it really works on a lot of levels."

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Corey Conners after his 11th round of 64 or better on the PGA TOUR

"Really happy with the round. Hit my irons really well and was able to roll in some putts. That was nice, to get a few extra on the second nine I played today, on the front side here. Feel good about the game and really happy about the day. Definitely brought a lot of confidence from the last little while. I've been playing really well and just trust my game and play with the confidence that I have and good things are going to happen. So hopefully keep that up for a few more days, but definitely feel like I'm in control."

Emiliano Grillo after jumping up 14 spots with a 64

"I don't think we're going to find it as easy as it was today. The greens are perfect. There's no wind out there. Just got to go and play some golf. We're professionals; we're used to tough conditions, and when we get into easy conditions like today, we're going to take advantage of it. I'm happy the way I played today. I just left a bunch of putts on the back nine short of the hole, and could have been a really, really low one today. But I'm happy."

Collin Morikawa after backing up an opening 65 with a 68

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"Even though my speed wasn't great today, overall my putting has felt great. When I'm over the putt everything feels confident. I had a lot of putts today that looked like they were going in; just fell a little short. So just got to keep that going, keep the ball striking going, but everything feels really good."

Cameron Smith on having to settle for a 71 after a blistering 62 on Thursday

"I think the golfing gods got a few back on me today. They let everything in yesterday, and today I thought I was putting really good and just had a lot of putts that went over the edge, didn't go in. So everything is looking good. Looking forward to tomorrow."

Social

Father and son dynamics, Matt Fitzpatrick's walk-off bomb, Billy Horschel's slam dunk and Shane Lowry's hole-in-one near miss...

The Cink boys:

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Fitzpatrick drains one at 18:

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Horschel holes out in style:

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Lowry's ace agony:

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READ MORE: Collin Morikawa gets first look of Kiawah Island ahead of Heritage bid

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