Masters last-man Conners trades TV view for 1st tee

2019-04-10 10:38
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - Corey Conners 07:  Corey Conn
Corey Conners (AP)

Augusta - Corey Conners never dreamed to play in this week's Masters, having barely qualified for last week's Texas Open, but a shocking first career PGA victory put him at Augusta National.

Now the 27-year-old Canadian, who had to buy extra clothes in Augusta for dining out, could end up with a green jacket.

Conners made 10 birdies in the final round for the victory, becoming the final man in the field of 87 for the year's first major tournament that opens Thursday at Augusta National.

"I felt good with my game, but definitely wouldn't have believed I would be here," Conners said on Tuesday.

"I was excited to watch the coverage on TV back at home for an off week, but I'm even more excited to be here playing."

Conners needed a birdie on the last regulation qualifier hole and the first playoff hole just to make the field in San Antonio, then joined India's Arjun Atwal as the only PGA qualifiers since 1986 to win titles.

"It was a special week, a crazy week," Conners said.

"Basically squeaking into the field. Just tried to play well and be aggressive and kept that attitude the whole week."

Texas Open sponsors flew Conners to Georgia on Sunday night. His clothing sponsors sent him some extra apparel but after packing for a qualifier, he needed extra fashion assistance.

"We actually went shopping last night," Conners said.

"So I could get a couple T-shirts and a pair of pants to go to dinner in."

Instead of a seat on the couch in front of the television watching the Masters, Conners will be teeing off in Thursday's first group out at 08:30 (14:30 SA time) alongside Americans Andrew Landry and Adam Long.

"I've tried to manage my energy a little bit. Last week took a lot out of me," Conners said.

"Was able to rest up yesterday. Won't go too hard tomorrow, and I think I'll be feeling pretty fresh for the tournament."

Asked about expectations, Conners was still pretty sky high for a guy whose two prior major starts resulted in missed cuts at the 2015 Masters, after being the 2014 US Amateur runner-up, and the 2017 US Open.

"I think a top-10 finish would be pretty awesome," he said.

Conners, ranked 84th in the world, will draw upon his 2015 appearance, and some advice from 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir, a Canadian left-hander.

"It was a dream come true," Conners recalled.

"Got a bunch of practice rounds in that week and learned from guys like Mike Weir, who I grew up watching as a kid. Gave me some pointers, some strategy, and kind of helped me with the game plan."

Conners opened with an eight-over par 80 in 2015 but bounced back with a 69 in round two.

"I've been playing rounds over in my head through the course. A lot of the shots are going to be pretty similar to what I faced in 2015," Conners said.

"I don't think I'm intimidated. I think the course suits my game really well so I'll be pretty comfortable out there."

Read more on:    masters  |  corey conners  |  golf


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