Conners captures 2nd win in Texas

Corey Conners watches his tee shot on the first hole during the third round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio, Saturday, April 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)
Corey Conners watches his tee shot on the first hole during the third round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio, Saturday, April 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)

SAN ANTONIO -- Corey Conners won the Texas Open for the second time in five years Sunday for his second PGA Tour title, closing with a 4-under 68 for a one-stroke victory over rookie Sam Stevens.

Also the 2019 winner, Conners had a 15-under 273 total on TPC San Antonio's Oaks Course. The Canadian now heads to the Masters, where he tied sixth last year for his second consecutive top-10 finish at Augusta National.

"I had been feeling really good about my game, and looking forward to getting back here to San Antonio," Conners said. "When I won in 2019, it was different, a real roller-coaster final round. I dug deep on the back nine, so I tried to channel that part of it today."

A shot behind Patrick Rodgers starting play, Conners had a three-shot lead after he birdied No. 15. Stevens eagled the 17th, but missed a 9-foot birdie putt at 18 that would have tied it. Connors ended it with a 3-foot par putt on 18.

"I saw he had hit in the fairway, so I figured he could manage making a 5," Stevens said. "He had it in the bag when I missed that putt on 18. I knew I had to do something cool on the last couple of holes, and I was pretty at calm, pretty at peace on 17. I couldn't believe I got it as close as I did, and was able to make that one. That gave me a chance."

Stevens shot a 66. He was third last week at the PGA Tour's stop in the Dominican Republic.

Sam Ryder (66) and Matt Kuchar (68) followed at 13 under.

Former University of Arkansas golfer Nico Echavarria posted a 73 on Sunday and finished at 5-under 283.

Rodgers saw a chance for his first tour victory and first Masters spot slip away. He shot a 73 to finish fifth at 11 under.

"Yeah, disappointing day," said Rodgers, who had the 54-hole lead at an event for the fourth time in his career. "I feel like I made some good swings that kind of the wind got or they landed a few yards in the wrong spots and it ended up costing me bogeys. That was my day today."

Conner's best finish since hoisting the 2019 Texas Open trophy was a third-place effort at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last year.

Conners led after the first round with a 64 when the weather-delayed opening 18 finished Friday. But his second-round 72 dropped him three behind Rodgers after 36 holes, which Conners cut to a stroke with his third-round 69.

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