It was an old-fashioned Texas shootout on Sunday at the Valero Texas Open, where 27-year-old Canadian Corey Conners held off final-round charges from Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore to win his first PGA Tour title.
Conners shot 6-under 66, reaching 20-under 268, on the par-72 TPC San Antonio course to become first Monday qualifier to win a PGA Tour event since Arjun Atwal at the 2010 Wyndham Championship, and just the fifth player to do so since 1980.
It was a roller-coaster day for Conners, who earned his spot in the field in a six-way playoff for one available spot in a Monday qualifier. He opened with birdies on four of his first five holes, but a string of bogeys on Nos. 6-9 jeopardized his lead.
Conners regained his momentum on the back, reeling off four birdies over the next five holes to regain the top spot. He began to pull away from the field on the closing holes thanks to birdies at 16 and 17, stretching his lead to three (20 under) as he headed to the 18th tee.
It was the third time in six attempts this season that Conners earned his spot in the field through Monday qualifying. He’s capitalized each time, posting a runner-up finish in October at the Sanderson Farms Championship, a career best, and a T-3 at the Sony Open in Hawaii in January.
In 10 other PGA Tour starts this season, he’s made the cut just twice.
Hoffman, the four-time PGA winner, who started the day two strokes back of the lead after a blistering 64 on Saturday, saw his name atop the leaderboard midway through the day. But his bogey-free 67 wasn’t enough for the 42-year-old California native, who finished second at 18 under.
Also giving Conners a run for his money was five-time PGA Tour winner Moore, who fired an 8-under 64 on Sunday to place third at 17 under. The 36-year-old Washington native, whose last win came at the 2016 John Deere Classic, posted a birdie-eagle start to get a jump on the leaders. He then opened a streak on the back with four birdies between Nos. 12-16 to grab a brief share of the lead.
The 23-year-old South Korean Si Woo Kim, the leader for three rounds, fell short in his attempt to become the tour’s first wire-to-wire winner since Brandt Snedeker at the 2018 Wyndham Championship. He stumbled early in his round after a double-bogey 5 on No. 3 and bogey 5 on No. 9.
The 2017 Players Championship winner regained some ground thanks to birdies at 14 and 15, but Kim appeared to have suffered an abdominal injury midway through the back nine and was seen holding his ribs on 15th green and 16th tee. He birdied the 17th but bogeyed the 18th, finishing at even par on the day and 15 under for the tournament, tying for fourth.
Tying Kim was Michigan native Brian Stuard, 36, who carded eight birdies and two bogeys to shoot 66.
Illinois native Kevin Streelman, the 40-year-old two-time PGA winner, tied Moore for the low round of the day with an 8-under 64 that featured nine birdies — including four straight on Nos. 14-17 — along with a lone bogey at No. 18. He finished sixth.
--Field Level Media