Almost, but not quite.
Canada’s Corey Conners was in serious contention for his second PGA TOUR victory on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The Listowel, Ontario golfer was near the top of the leaderboard all week long at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, but ultimately finished in third place at one of the circuit’s elevated invitationals.
On a windy Sunday for the final round, Conners converted his third eagle of the week on the 16th hole to rebound back to a tally of -10. That put him one shot back of leaders Bryson Dechambeau and Lee Westwood.
Unfortunately that was the end of his advance on the title, which was eventually won by DeChambeau, as he made bogies on the very testing final two holes.
A Difficult Day
Conners, who earned his fourth top-ten of the 2021 season with the finish, related just how hard the course was playing on the final day when winds gusted to 40 km/h and the field scoring average climbed to 75.486, almost five shots higher than the previous round.
“Yeah, it was a challenge. Definitely a battle out there. I made some nice saves at the start of the round, just didn’t get the putts to fall today, the greens were rolling really fast, ball seemed to never stop. So it was very challenging, gave myself a shot, made a really great eagle on 16 that felt pretty good and bogeyed the last two holes wasn’t great, but really challenging golf holes. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.”
On a day when it would be easy to be conscious of your position all day long, with a win in sight, Conners kept his head down, but knew how much another eagle on the 16th meant late in the affair.
“I knew it got me within striking distance. I didn’t really look at the boards too much through out the day, I just wanted to stick to my game plan and knew that you couldn’t really force anything out there, because that’s where you get your self into trouble. But I knew at that point that I was pretty close and tried to give myself a good chance on that last couple.”
A missed sand save on the lengthy par 3, 17th, ended the run by Conners but the final result was somewhat satisfying with an even bigger tournament ahead this week, The Players Championship.
That immediately became his focus after play ended in Orlando and he was asked to assess the week.
“A lot of positive things,” Corey shared about what he takes away from his solo 3rd finish at Bay Hill that netted him $641,700. “I struck the ball really well, I was really patient, I felt confident about my game, so really excited where things are at heading into next week.”
With the finish Conners now climbs to #44 in the Official World Golf Rankings and boosts his season-long money to $1,757,520.
His now heads to TPC Sawgrass where the field will compete for $15,000,000 with $2.7 million going to the winner.
Canadians in the field will include Conners, Adam Hadwin, Nick Taylor, and Mackenzie Hughes.
At this point fellow Canadians Michael Gligic (5th), David Hearn (7th) and Roger Sloan (9th) are alternates for the field.