Approach Shots

2 of the Presidents Cup’s best iron players share keys to elite ball striking

corey conners mito pereira swing

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you love a good ole ball-striking fiesta, I’ve got good news for you — the Presidents Cup is chock full of elite iron players. Eight of the top 20 players in SG: Approach from last season are playing this week at Quail Hollow, and that means you can expect plenty of darts to be thrown.

Team USA is responsible for a bulk of these elite iron players (six of the eight will don red, white and blue), but the International squad does have a couple of studs themselves. Corey Conners and Mito Pereira were also among the best ball-strikers on Tour last season (each finished inside the top 20 in SG: Approach), and they both enter their first Presidents Cup aiming to strut their stuff.

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Conners has long been one of the top iron players on Tour, ranking inside the top 20 in SG: Approach in each of the last four seasons, while Pereira leaned on his iron play in a successful rookie season that included a T3 at the PGA Championship.

Now, the two sharpshooters find themselves at Quail Hollow looking to help the International side win the Presidents Cup for just the second time. It’ll be an uphill battle, to be sure, but if the Internationals do pull off the upset, Conners and Pereira’s pure ball striking will surely play a large role.

Here’s how each of them keeps their swings in shape and keeps them in the conversation for best iron player in the world.

Corey Conners – Focus on rhythm

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When Conners feels his swing going into a bit of a funk, he gets back to the basics. And there’s nothing more basic in the swing than tempo.

“I think just having good rhythm has always been sort of a hallmark of my game and something that I focus on every week,” Conners says. “That allows me to hit the ball solidly, and usually it results in it going where I want.”

To get the proper feeling of tempo in his swing, Conners takes a few practice swings where he focuses on the body and arms being in sync. If he feels the body getting too far ahead of the club, he take a practice swing with his right foot back.

“[I like] feeling the body moving, club staying in front of the body,” he says. “That helps with my rhythm, as well.”

Mito Pereira – Don’t be afraid to tinker

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Pereira is a player who tries to stick with what has worked in the past, but that doesn’t mean he won’t tinker with his swing when it needs some work — with the proper set of eyes on it, of course.

“After a round [I] hit a couple balls or call to my coach,” he says. “Every time try to be in that rhythm of fixing something or just keep it in shape.”

A golf swing is always a work in progress, even for the best players in the world.

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