Cink-ing feeling on the eve of the big game

Stewart Cink waves after a birdie putt on the ninth hole during the first round of the Texas Open.

Stewart Cink waves after a birdie putt on the ninth hole during the first round of the Texas Open.

BETHESDA, Md. – Stewart Cink already feels a little snake-bitten this week.

Cink, the 2009 British Open Champion, tees off at 7:44 a.m. Thursday in the first round of the U.S. Open, paired with major champions Padraig Harrington and Angel Cabrera.

That’s the good news for Cink.

The bad news? He starts on the difficult par-3 10th hole, with the first shot almost entirely over water. After that comes the demanding par-4 No. 11, a converted par 5. Par-par would be a very good start.

But Cink wasn’t focusing on his tee time while practicing Wednesday on the driving range. He had the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals in mind.

“First, my team leaves, and now I can’t watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup,” Cink said of tonight’s deciding game between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks in British Columbia. “It’s not fair.”

Cink, who resides in Duluth, Ga., found out two weeks ago that the Atlanta Thrashers were moving to Winnipeg. Now, he’s going to miss the biggest game of the season.

Todd Hamilton, also a hockey fan, plans to see the game, but it won’t be easy. The Dallas resident and Stars fan has a late tee time Thursday and plans to be up to the wee hours watching the finale.

He likes Boston’s chances.

“They could have won Game 1 and Game 2,” Hamilton said. “They can score, and it will likely be the end of (Canucks goalie Roberto) Luongo.”

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