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Sobel: The Masters’ Biggest Longshot Is Trying to Keep His Heater Going


Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Corey Conners

  • Corey Conners is a 250-1 longshot to win the 2019 Masters after qualifying for the season's first major with an unlikely victory at the Valero Texas Open the previous week.
  • "I was excited to watch the coverage on TV back at home for an off-week," Conners said, "but I’m even more excited to be playing."

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Corey Conners is the living embodiment of a 10-team underdog moneyline parlay that somehow cashes a big-time payout.

At promptly 4:26 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, the PGA Tour’s newest champion was sitting in the Augusta National interview room, fielding questions about his unlikeliest of journeys to become the last man qualified for this week’s Masters field.

How unlikely was it?

Entering the Valero Texas Open final round, Conners was one stroke off the lead, sandwiched on the leaderboard between a couple of guys in Si Woo Kim and Charley Hoffman who have not only won, but won bigger events before.

Entering the first round, he was fresh off Monday qualifying for the event, surviving a 6-for-1 playoff to claim the last spot in the field at the last minute.

Even entering that playoff, he perhaps shouldn’t have been there.

As one Monday competitor, Ben Griffin, tweeted, his playing partner missed a 3-foot putt on the 13th hole because he left the flagstick in and the ball caromed off. That player would later reach the playoff instead of qualifying in regulation, and while there are plenty of variables that could have taken place afterward, that scenario at least adds to the legend of the longshot qualifier.

“It’s been a crazy week, for sure,” Conners admitted with a smile. “The good fortune I had at the Monday qualifier and in through the playoff, basically squeaking into the field. I had confidence. I’ve had some good finishes this year and I felt good with my game, but yeah, definitely wouldn’t have believed that I would be here. I was excited to watch the coverage on TV back at home for an off-week, but I’m even more excited to be playing.”

All of which leads to one very intriguing, very silly question: Would you ever take the winnings from that 10-team underdog moneyline parlay and place it on ANOTHER 10-team underdog moneyline parlay?

Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean all bets on Conners this week are akin to flushing your money down the toilet.

First of all, he’s already got some experience here at Augusta National, having played this tournament as an amateur back in 2015. Secondly, his skillset actually matches up pretty well with what’s needed on this track, as he ranks seventh on the PGA Tour in strokes gained on approach shots.

And of course, lastly, he’s riding a pretty sweet heater right now.

“Obviously, I’d love to give myself another chance to win,” he said. “I don’t like setting specific targets, necessarily, and then if I don’t meet them, I may be overly disappointed. But I feel like I’m playing really well. Definitely get myself in the mix and hopefully have a chance to win. I think a top-10 finish would be pretty awesome after winning last week.”

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