At the start of last week Corey Conners was not even in the Masters, but 11 days later he found himself sharing a tee with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player and high on the leaderboard at Augusta National.
Conners survived a six-man play-off to qualify for the Valero Texas Open last Monday and went on to win his first PGA Tour title in San Antonio to secure the final place in the 87-man field for the year’s first major.
The 27-year-old, who carded rounds of 80 and 69 on his Masters debut as an amateur in 2015, was in the first group out on Thursday and fired an eagle and three birdies in an opening 70 to continue his remarkable run of form.
“It’s been wild, definitely unexpected but I’m playing some good golf and really excited to be here and honoured to be playing in the Masters and just trying to keep riding the good play,” Conners said.
“I had a great day out there today, a lot of fun, and hit some quality shots and was able to get a couple under par, which was very pleasing. It’s been a bit crazy the last week but everything’s been great and I’m just trying to really enjoy the experience.”
Part of the experience was being on the first tee as honorary starters Nicklaus and Player hit tee shots on the opening hole, with Conners teeing off a few minutes later alongside Andrew Landry and Adam Long.
“It was pretty cool, I was able to stand on the back of the tee and watch them tee off and really appreciate what they have done for the game of Golf and it was a really cool experience to be part of,” Conners added.
“I just tried to soak it in and really enjoy it. And then being in the first group following them, that was pretty special as well.
“My playing partners, Adam and Andrew are both good friends, so we’re very comfortable out there and we had a great time.”
Conners was one over par after 12 holes but birdied the 13th and 14th and then holed from eight feet for an eagle on the par-five 15th before three-putting the last.
“I think – everything’s still high – I’m just having a lot of positive emotions,” he added. “I didn’t really sleep much the beginning of the week, I felt energised with positive things that have happened. This is a great place to be and I’m just really enjoying it.”
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