Corey Conners returns to winner’s circle at Valero Texas Open

Apr 2, 2023; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Corey Conners plays his shot from the first tee during the final round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Conners shot a bogey-free, 4-under 68 to win the Valero Texas Open for the second time on Sunday at TPC San Antonio.

The Canadian’s only other win on the PGA Tour came at the 2019 edition of the event.

Conners finished at 15-under 273 to edge a late-charging Sam Stevens by one shot. Matt Kuchar and Sam Ryder tied for third at 13-under 275.

“I was really solid all day,” Conners said on the NBC broadcast. “It was a battle out here for sure. The conditions were not easy. Struck the ball really, really well, gave myself a lot of looks and kept things under control. It was definitely a battle but a lot of fun. I can’t believe I got my second win here.”

Stevens drove the green at the short par-4 17th hole and sank a 9-foot eagle putt to shoot up to 14 under for the tournament. He had a 9-foot birdie putt at the par-5 18th that would have tied Conners at 15 under with the leader a hole behind him, but it broke just too much at the end.

Conners, 31, put together a messy par at No. 18 to hang on. After missing the green left on his second shot, he chunked his third onto the green and made a difficult two-putt from 28 1/2 feet.

Conners began the day one stroke back of 54-hole leader Patrick Rodgers and holed birdies at the par-5 second, par-4 sixth and par-4 ninth holes. The last of those came from 18 feet away. Conners’ birdie at the par-4 15th, another 18-footer, wound up providing the margin of victory.

Meanwhile, Rodgers made two birdies and four bogeys on his front nine to find himself four shots behind Conners — after holding as much as a four-shot lead on the field during Saturday’s round.

Rodgers had another bogey before making two late birdies to salvage a 73 and finish fifth at 11-under 277. He would have secured an invitation to next week’s Masters had he won the Texas Open.

“Disappointing day, but great experience, great to be in that environment,” Rodgers said. “Honestly, hats off to Corey; he played amazing.”

Stevens, a 26-year-old PGA Tour rookie, shot a 6-under 66 featuring two eagles to leap into second. He sank a 15-foot eagle putt at the par-5 eighth before his late push at No. 17 shortened Conners’ three-shot edge.

“(At No. 17) I was pretty calm, pretty at peace,” Stevens said. “I knew that I had to do something pretty cool on the last couple holes, kind of freed me up to make a good swing, hit a good shot. It worked out perfectly. You’re just trying to get it up there somewhere around the green, maybe chip it in, try and make a birdie, but worked out great.”

Kuchar birdied the last three holes and four of his last five to card a 69 and earn his first top-five finish in an official event since the 2022 RBC Heritage 12 months ago. Kuchar also tied for second at the Texas Open last year and came up just shy of winning it for the first time.

Ryder had seven birdies and just one bogey for a 66.

Chez Reavie matched Peter Malnati for the round of the day with a 7-under 65, placing Reavie in a tie for sixth at 10 under with Lee Hodges and South Korea’s Byeong Hun An.

–Field Level Media

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