A Hole in One Pushes Corey Conners Up the Masters Leaderboard

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The outdated man working by a scoreboard close to No. 2 knew. He needed to have recognized, as a result of everybody knew.

The roar on Saturday afternoon had all the hallmarks of a traditional second being made at the Masters Tournament: the sharp elevate of noise as one thing sensational unfolded someplace on the 345 acres, the percussion when the doable grew to become a certainty, after which the fading echoes amongst the pines.

“Which hole?” the man requested.

The reply, it turned out, was the sixth, the place Corey Conners had picked up a pair of strokes with a gap in one, the sixth there in the historical past of the event at Augusta National Golf Club. His tee shot with an eight-iron, coming proper after a bogey, had landed simply past the bunker. The ball took three bounces, every one smaller than the final. Then physics took over in every week when Augusta’s greens have been in comparison with glass.

It took maybe 4 seconds for the ball to enter the cup from the time it struck the inexperienced — so quick that Conners had scarcely moved in the tee field. He raised his arms in exultation. He leaned backward and pumped his proper fist. He accepted congratulations from Collin Morikawa, his companion for the day.

“It didn’t seem like the wind was helping as much as I anticipated, but, fortunately, it flew far enough,” Conners, who entered Saturday at two underneath par on the event, mentioned afterward. “I was trying to fly it somewhere over the bunker and get it to go in, get it to go close to the hole.”

“I think I hit the pin with a little bit of steam,” he added, “but it was right in the middle, so pretty special moment.”

He completed Saturday with a 68, 4 underneath par, and will probably be in rivalry when the event holds its last spherical on Sunday, thanks in no small half to his star activate No. 6.

“Every shot makes a big difference,” mentioned Charles Coody, who gained the Masters in 1971 and used a five-iron for a gap in one on No. 6 the following 12 months. “He’s been playing well of late, so I’m quite sure he’ll have a good chance.”

Augusta National’s No. 16 surrenders much more holes in one than some other on the course, and it gave up one on Thursday to Tommy Fleetwood. But the sixth gap has seen greater than any spot however the 16th.

“It’s fairly level over there when you’re hitting from the tee and everything,” Coody mentioned of the sixth gap on Saturday, when he watched the event on tv. “You’re hitting into just a little of the upslope, which helps you hold the green a little better.”

Conners, a 29-year-old Canadian with a single P.G.A. Tour victory to his identify, has had, like so many golfers, an advanced relationship with Augusta National. In his first look, in 2015, he missed the reduce however confirmed promise: a first-round 80, a second-round 69. Four years later, he tied for 46th after a misery-filled last spherical. In November, when the pandemic-delayed Masters was performed, he scored a 65 in the second spherical, essential to tying for 10th in the finish.

This 12 months’s circumstances have been far totally different.

“It’s got a lot more speed to it,” he mentioned of the course on Tuesday. “The greens are rolling quicker. Had to adjust some of the notes in my book to play a lot more break in the greens, and certain spots around the green where you maybe had a chance in November, you don’t have much of a chance right now.”

He had simply completed a observe spherical with Mike Weir, the 2003 Masters winner and the solely son of Canada ever to win certainly one of golf’s main tournaments. Weir regaled Conners with tales of victory — and provided a number of suggestions, one of the traditions of the Masters.

But on Saturday, the afternoon after the reduce, Weir was not in the discipline. It was Conners’s flip to stir a roar.

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