Corey Conners wins Valero Texas Open for 2nd time in 5 years
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By TIM PRICE
SAN ANTONIO (AP) Corey Conners won the Valero Texas Open for the second time in five years Sunday for his second PGA Tour title, closing with a 4-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over rookie Sam Stevens.
Also the 2019 winner, Conners had a 15-under 273 total on TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course. The Canadian now heads to the Masters, where he tied sixth last year for his second straight top-10 finish at Augusta National.
“I had been feeling really good about my game, and looking forward to getting back here to San Antonio,” Conners said. “When I won in 2019, it was different, a real roller-coaster final round. I dug deep on the back nine, so I tried to channel that part of it today.”
A shot behind Patrick Rodgers starting play, Conners had a three-shot lead after he birdied No. 15. Stevens eagled the 17th, but missed a 9-foot birdie putt at 18 that would have tied it. Connors ended it with a 3-foot par putt on 18.
“I saw he had hit in the fairway, so I figured he could manage making a 5,” Stevens said. “He had it in the bag when I missed that putt on 18. I knew I had to do something cool on the last couple of holes, and I was pretty at calm, pretty at peace on 17. I couldn’t believe I got it as close as I did, and was able to make that one. That gave me a chance.”
Stevens shot a 66. He was third last week at the PGA Tour’s stop in the Dominican Republic.
Sam Ryder (66) and Matt Kuchar (68) followed at 13 under.
Rodgers saw a chance for his first tour victory and first Masters spot slip away. He shot a 73 to finish fifth at 11 under.
“Yeah, disappointing day,” said Rodgers, who had the 54-hole lead at an event for the fourth time in his career. “I feel like I made some good swings that kind of the wind got or they landed a few yards in the wrong spots and it ended up costing me bogeys. That was my day today.”
Conner’s best finish since hoisting the 2019 Texas Open trophy was a third-place effort at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last year.
Conners led after the first round with a 64 when the weather-delayed opening 18 finished Friday. But his second-round 72 dropped him three behind Rodgers after 36 holes, which Conners cut to a stroke with his third-round 69.
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Updated April 2, 2023