Corey Conners stays neutral in final round of PGA of America Championship
ROCHESTER | Corey Conners will have been in the game at the PGA of America Championship for 51 holes. His gaffe at the end of the third round will have been fatal to him. In the role of the hunter in the final round, the Canadian was never able to pull the trigger and he returned home empty-handed.
He didn't fail, far from it. Because a major championship on a beast as formidable as the East Course of Oak Hill is draining and demanding. The one who is considered one of the best golfers in the world with his irons missed a single shot, at the very wrong time. And he will never have been able to recover from the error. On a glorious sunny Sunday in which he stayed in neutral, he gave up a final card of 75 (+5) and finished with a cumulative record tied at par.
Conners still achieved one of his best performances in a Grand Slam tournament. This 9th level comes just after his 6th position at the 2022 edition of the Masters Tournament in Augusta and his 10th at the same place the previous year. In his fifth PGA of America Championship appearance, he bettered his 2021 17th-place finish from Kiawah Island.
The co-leader after 36 holes simply missed his appointment with history. The occasion was sublime. Hopes were high. He was looking to succeed Mike Weir, the last Canadian to win a Grand Slam. The feat took place at the Masters Tournament in April 2003.
“It was a day full of challenges. I was simply not due to win, philosophized the Ontarian who unfortunately delivered his worst round of the season at the wrong time. It's not over. I will still have several opportunities to get my hands on one of his titles. I'll be hungrier.”
In the final round, he will never have been able to keep up with the pace quickly imposed by the group of leaders, Brooks Koepka and Viktor Hovland. Delivering an unusual and amorphous game on the first leg due to his imprecise tee shots and flat iron game, his three bogeys set him back up to five strokes from the American at one point.
Meanwhile, several newcomers made their appearance in the main draw for the first time in the tournament, including France's Victor Perez, Australia's Cameron Smith and Austria's Sepp Straka.
On the return, Conners' single birdie couldn't erase all four bogeys.
“I didn't give myself enough good birdie chances. I saved some pars, however, he said, pointing out the state of his short-to-point game, smiling at the same time with a slight smile of positivism.
“If the I was told at the beginning of the week that I would play two rounds under par, I would have taken it immediately. It's a shame I wasn't at my best today.”