Corey Conners rolls to victory at the Valero Texas Open (again): ‘I definitely love Texas’

Corey Conners rocked the traditional winner’s boots again, this time after stomping the field on Sunday at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, Texas.

The 31-year-old Conners notched his second PGA Tour victory – both at TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course – by shooting a bogey-free 4-under 68, one stroke better than Texas native Sam Stevens.

Conners, who trailed by one stroke entering the final day after rounds of 64-72-69, carded three birdies on the front nine, including an 18-footer from the fringe at nine to build a four-stroke advantage at the turn.

“Kind of had a putt that could get away from you on 9, but it was back into the wind and tried to be really aggressive,” Conners explained. “Thought I smoked it at first and it just kind of dribbled in.”

Overnight leader Patrick Rodgers faded quickly with four bogeys on the front nine and finished fifth (73).

“It’s one of those golf courses where it doesn’t take much to get pretty far off and that was my day today,” Rodgers said. “Disappointing result, but I’ll be back strong.”

Only rookie Sam Stevens, who made two eagles en route to posting 66, put up a fight on the back nine. He made eagle at 17 to pull within a stroke of Conners, but couldn’t make an 8-foot birdie at the last to tie. Eight pars and a birdie coming home was enough to end the winless skid for the Canadian.

Conners was a Monday Qualifier when he won the Valero Texas Open in 2019 to earn a spot in the Masters for the first time. This year, he didn’t have that added pressure. He already was exempt into next week’s major. He represented the International Team in last year’s Presidents Cup and entered the week at No. 40 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but a second Tour title had remained elusive.

Conners is a perfect five-for-five in making the cut at TPC San Antonio, never finishing worse than T-35 and owns the low scoring average at the course since 2010.

“I love this golf course and feel really comfortable out here,” Conners said.

So does Matt Kuchar, who closed with 68, and finished in a tie for third with Sam Ryder. Kuchar was runner-up a year ago and recorded his fifth top-10 finish at the event.

“I wish I made a few putts early on,” Kuchar said. “It was a demanding day. I got to witness Corey Conners go around. He did not miss a shot for 18 holes, it was impressive stuff to see out there.”

Conners made birdie at 15 to go 15 under and parred in to finish with a 72-hole total of 15-under 273. In doing so, he became the 10th multiple Valero Texas Open winner, joining the likes of Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw and Justin Leonard. Conners also became the first player since K.H. Lee to record his first two PGA Tour victories at the same event. The actuarial mathematics major at Kent State University was asked what percentage chance would he have given himself to win the tournament before it began.

“You know, probably not very likely,” Conners said. “I felt great about my game, but it’s so difficult to win on the PGA Tour. Feel like I’ve been working really hard and haven’t been able to get it done for the last four years, but it sure feels sweet and I definitely love Texas.”

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