If things go well for Corey Conners, he’ll go from the altar to the winner’s circle in one week.
Conners was married last Saturday and after a third-round 64 a week later, he finds himself in second place heading to the final round of the Sanderson Farms Championship.
“I don't know if she was too excited about me taking her here for the honeymoon,” joked Conners about his new bride Malory, who has followed him for all 54 holes. “It feels great to be married. There was a lot of planning that was involved. Had an amazing day.
“It was really special with family and friends. Yeah, just kind of a lot weight off the shoulders. Nothing to worry about now. Excited to be here just playing golf.”
Conners made nine birdies on his day including five on the front side for an opening 31. The only blip on his card came on the 12th hole where an errant drive and a poor second shot led to his only bogey of the day.
As per usual, Conners hit a lot of greens – 16 – and found some magic with his putter with a Strokes Gained: Putting mark of 3.352.
“Over the past few days I was hitting the ball really well and kind of knew the putter would come around,” admitted Conners. “The greens here are really nice, and was able to roll in a nice putt on the first hole and got the round going.
“Just tried to keep the pedal down. I was hitting the ball really well, so just tried to stay aggressive. Didn't hit quite as many fairways towards the end, but I was able to still score the ball pretty well.”
Conners will head to Sunday in the final group for the third time in his young career. He did it in Valspar when he ended up shooting 77 and finishing tied for 16th, and then a week later in the Dominican Republic when he posted a 76.
“Definitely a lot to draw off,” Conners reflected. “Learned a few things. Definitely a little bit tighter than I would've liked in that round; struggled on the greens a little bit.”
This time around Conners will need to do some serious chasing. Long-hitting Cameron Champ holds a four-shot lead after matching the Canadian’s third-round 64. He may be hard to reel in.
Of course Conners said that if he was able to catch Champ and grab his first PGA Tour victory, it would cap off an incredible stretch in his life.
“It would be really special to have her here and win,” he said of his new bride. “Yeah, it's been great. We had an awesome wedding, and kind of excited to have it over with so we can start a new chapter in our lives.”
Although it’s had different names, this tournament has been kind to Canadians in the past. Dan Halldorson, Richard Zokol and Nick Taylor are all past champions, with Taylor’s win coming in 2015.
Taylor, Ben Silverman and Adam Svensson all made the cut and will cash cheques on Sunday.