Sunday 18 August 2019

Augusta Diary: Conners happy to change his plans

 

Corey Conners poses for a photo after winning the final round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament at TPC San Antonio. Photo: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Corey Conners poses for a photo after winning the final round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament at TPC San Antonio. Photo: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Vincent Hogan

Vincent Hogan

Last Monday morning Canada's Corey Conners was battling with 72 others to earn one of four spots in the Texas Open. Yesterday morning, he was getting ready to tee it up at Augusta.

Conners, ranked 196th in the world, compiled a roller-coaster six-under-par 66 that included 10 birdies in the final round at TPC San Antonio to finish on 20-under par.

He followed four early birdies with four consecutive bogeys on the front nine before storming home with six birdies and three pars to claim his first PGA Tour title and the final US Masters spot.

In the qualifier last week, six players ended up in a play-off for the final berth, and Conners (above) was the man to emerge triumphant and he went on to become the first Monday qualifier to win since 2010.

Conners came to the last with a three-shot lead and held his nerve to book the final seat on the Sunday night charter flight to Augusta, where the first Major championship of the year will tee off on Thursday.

"The last few holes are a bit of a blur," he said. "Big change of plans. It was just going to be an off week but it's not now."

Graeme McDowell finished tied for seventh, eight shots behind Connors.

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3 - Only three players - Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo - have won back-to-back Masters titles and the chances of Patrick Reed doing the same appear slim. He started the year by finishing 25th in a 33-man field in the Tournament of Champions and has yet to record a top-10 finish.

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Call to swap screen time for green time

Former Olympian and exercise expert professor Greg Whyte is urging men to swap screen time for green time in order to improve their mental well-being.

The man who trained David Walliams to swim the English Channel and Davina McCall to complete an ultra-triathlon is now fronting an England Golf campaign to persuade lapsed players to return to the sport and 'switch off with golf'.

Launched to coincide with Stress Awareness Month, the campaign hopes to remind players of the stress-busting qualities of the game.

According to the latest research by the Mental Health Foundation, three in four adults have felt so stressed in the last year that they have been "overwhelmed or unable to cope".

"The vast majority of us say we are under stress but it appears to particularly be the case for men, who are notoriously bad at talking about their problems," said Whyte.

"That is one of the great things about golf because it creates the perfect environment for men to talk.

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