Monday-qualifier Corey Conners wins Valero Texas Open, receives final Masters invite

April 7, 2019

Si Woo Kim had the overnight lead at the Valero Texas Open, but Corey Conners was in for a special day in San Antonio. Here’s what you missed on the final day of the Valero Texas Open.

Who won: Corey Conners (six-under 66, 20 under overall)

How it happened: Corey Conners started the day a shot behind 54-hole leader Si Woo Kim, but Conners put together one of the most bizarrely spectacular rounds of the season. He had two separate streaks of three straight birdies and another streak where he made four straight bogeys. The fourth of those four straight came on the 9th, and he made the turn one behind Charley Hoffman. But Conners went on a tear on the back nine, making birdies on 10, 11, 12, 14, 16 and 17 en route to a two-stroke victory over Hoffman. He’s the first Monday qualifier to win on the PGA Tour since 2010.

Why it matters: It’s a breakthrough victory for Conners, a 27-year-old Canadian ranked 196th in the world. He’s dabbled on the PGA Tour’s smaller circuits the past few years but he’s now exempt through the 2021 season. He’s also now the last man to receive a coveted Masters invite. It will be just his third major championship start of his career. He missed the cut at the 2015 Masters when he qualified as an amateur.

Best shot: Conners held a one-shot lead with three to play, then stuffed an iron inside five feet on the par-3 16th. He made the putt and increased his lead to two for some crucial breathing room on the final two holes.

Notables: Some of the tops players in the game used the Valero as their final Masters tune-up. Matt Kuchar finished T7, Rickie Fowler was T17 and Jordan Spieth finished T30. It’s Spieth’s best stroke-play finish of the season.

Key number: Four. That’s the number of pars made by Conners, who birdied four of the first five to lead by four only to give it all back with four straight bogeys… before he made three more birdies to start his back nine and regain the lead. All said: four pars, four bogeys and 10 birdies.

Up next: Oh, like you haven’t heard. The first major of the season, the Masters, begins on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club.

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