Cook carries on without injured Sindelar

John Cook after defeating Jay Don Blake in a playoff during the final round of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am at TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz, Fla.

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SAVANNAH, Ga. – John Cook made eight birdies and a bogey in the first round of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. He needed all of those birdies for 7-under 65 because his partner, Joey Sindelar, reaggravated a pulled muscle in his lower right back on the first hole and dropped out after four holes.

Despite playing by himself, Cook positioned his team in contention, three shots off the lead. Sindelar received treatment and medication after quitting and said there’s a 40-percent chance he’ll play Saturday. He can rejoin Cook at any point the last two rounds.

“I think it’s spectacular what John just pulled off, the mental challenge he handled,” said Sindelar, who suffered the injury last Sunday in the final round of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am that Cook won. 

Sindelar got treatment, watched Cook on Nos. 9-10 and then went to a drugstore in Savannah for medication. He monitored Cook’s progress via cellphone. Upon seeing birdie after birdie register, he said, “You’ve got to be kidding.”

Cook made four birdies from the 2-foot range and a couple from 12 feet. He said he played more conservatively than normal on some holes because he didn’t have a partner.

“He was there in spirit,” Cook said. “We can still do well. I want him to get healthy. I don’t want him to jeopardize the rest of his year.”

Sindelar said Cook’s performance underscores rule No. 1 of the format: “Know how to pick your partner.”

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