Valero Texas Open Recap
2023 Valero Texas Open Recap
Venue: TPC San Antonio – San Antonio, Texas
Date: March 30 – April 2, 2023
Winner: Corey Conners
Purse: $8.9 million
In a race for the last Masters invite on Sunday, Corey Conners outlasted Matt Kuchar, Sam Stevens, and Sam Ryder to win his second Texas Open finishing at 15-under. Four years after Corey Conners became a winner on the PGA Tour, Conners earned his second trophy at TPC San Antonio. The Valero Texas Open Recap below.
It wasn’t always Conners’ tournament to win though. When his round began on Sunday, he was one stroke behind then-leader Patrick Rogers, but Conners utilized a stellar final round to usurp Rodgers and fend off a surging Sam Stevens and Sam Ryder. While Rogers didn’t play much of a factor in the final round, carding a trio of bogeys on the front nine, others did play better. The best among them was a rookie, Sam Stevens, who made a pair of eagles to give Conners a run for the money. Rogers and Stevens would go on to finish fifth and second, respectively.
“I’ve drawn from some of the experience I had here and really happy with the way that I hit the ball and got myself in position,” said Conners. “Drove it great, hit a lot of really good iron shots. Yeah, just kept things simple, felt relaxed. It was certainly challenging and a battle out there, but just an amazing day and can’t believe it. It’s a relief that it’s over.”
Conners began his final round at TPC San Antonio one stroke off the pace of 54-hole leader Rodgers. But, with Rodgers struggling to find his swing and giving strokes back to the field, the Canadian went about his business in a workman-like fashion. Carding three birdies on his opening nine and turning in 3 under, Conners flipped a slim deficit to a four-stroke lead by the time he made the way to the back nine.
Sam Stevens attempted to chase down Conners by playing Nos. 8-14 in 4 under before a booming eagle on the drivable par-4 17th cut Conners’ lead to as little as one. Conners seemed unfazed as he added a couple more birdies to close things out. Conners was one of just two players to navigate TPC San Antonio in a bogey-free manner on Sunday on his way to victory.
Someone to keep an eye on is Honda Classic winner Chris Kirk, who continues to fare well in these regular PGA Tour stops. Kirk has played four times outside the designated events, garnering a victory, two podium finishes, and now another top-10 effort. Kirk, who usually is deadly with his irons, struggled a bit with them this week; otherwise, this could have easily been a top-five finish. Kirk is set to make his fourth Masters appearance next week and his first since 2016, where he should fare well given his statistical skillset and right-to-left ball flight.
My pick this week, Rickie Fowler, had a strong showing with an 8-under and a T10. Although he won’t be heading to Augusta, he continues to make strides, as he overcame some early struggles to put together a 6-under 66 on Sunday.
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