US Masters Preview: Canadian Conners wins way into Masters

Canadian golfer Corey Conners has won his way into the US Masters

Valero Texas Open champion Corey Conners earned more than just the $US1.35 million first prize and a two-year exemption on the US PGA tour with his victory.

The unheralded Canadian golfer also won the final invite to compete in the first major of the year, the US Masters, this week at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

For Conners, it was his first professional victory on any tour, and he will this week attempt to become only the second Canadian to win a Masters green jacket.

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Conners became the first Monday qualifier to win a PGA tour event in nine years.

Left-hander Mike Weir won the title in 2003 and he will be the only other Canadian in the Masters field this week, with all former champions invited to compete.

Weir though is rated around a 2000-1 chance and unlikely to contend; Conners, though, may be expected to finish much higher up the leaderboard after his spectacular final round in Texas.

Conners made an incredible 10 birdies in his final round of six-under 66 to make up for a run of four consecutive bogeys on his front nine that put his claims in doubt.

He won by two strokes at 20 under from Charley Hoffman and is excited to be the last player to make the cut for a Masters invitation this year.

“My wife got an email this morning letting her know we could check in for our flight back home,” Conners told AP.

“I told her, ‘Don’t check in yet. Maybe we can make other plans.’ Big change of plans. It was going to be an off week [and now I am heading to Augusta].”

Surprisingly it’s not the first crack at the Masters for the 27-year-old. He qualified for the 2015 event thanks to finishing runner-up in the 2014 US Amateur to Gunn Yang. Conners fired rounds of 80 and a fine three-under 69 to miss the cut by only two shots.

Who played well among the Masters contenders

A couple of notable players had impressive weekends at the Texas Open and will head to Augusta full of confidence.

Red-hot Matt Kuchar finished tied seventh after a final-round 69 for a 12-under total. He has won twice on tour this season to lead the Fedex Cup and must be considered at healthy odds. His best finish at the Masters is tied third in 2012 but he is in close to career-best form as a 40-year-old.

Rickie Fowler also close with a 69 to finish on 10 under and the man many believe is the best player not to have won a major looks ready to go one better than his second place last year.

The 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth only finished tied for 30th but it was his best strokeplay finish in a disappointing year so far and we all know what happens to Spieth when he makes his way down Magnolia Drive.

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