It was moving day Saturday at the Masters and Canadian Corey Conners certainly did that — and in impressive fashion.
The Listowel, Ont., native shot a 4-under-par 68 to skyrocket seven spots up the leaderboard and into sole possession of sixth place at 6 under for the tournament. He sits five strokes back of 54-hole leader Hideki Matsuyama, who was the only golfer to have a better day on the track than Conners with a 7-under 65. (Xander Schauffele also shot a 68 and is four back of Matsuyama.)
Conners started strong with birdies on the second and third holes but then followed it up with a bogey on the fifth. But if you thought Conners would crumble, then think again. At the 182-yard, par-3 sixth, he had the shot of the day as his tee shot landed on the green and proceed to roll in for a hole-in-one.
According to Sportsnet Stats, Conners is the first Canadian to make a hole-in-one at Augusta since Ross Somerville in 1934. The telecast added that it is the sixth ace on the sixth hole in tournament history and the first since Jamie Donaldson's first-round ace in 2013.
Conners followed that great 8-iron with a 39-foot birdie putt on the next hole.
After a par on eight, he just missed birdie on nine as the ball skimmed over the hole. He finished the first nine at 4 under. The 29-year-old, making his fourth trip around golf's hallowed grounds, started the second nine with a bogey before parring the next three holes amid a rain delay.
On the par-4 14th, he made bogey but was lucky it wasn't worse because his tee shot landed right next to a tree. Conners, a right-handed player, had to play his second shot as a lefty, and he did so with the toe of his club. The ball traveled a matter of centimetres as it basically went up and down and just cleared onto the grass near the tree. He ended up having a chance to save par but his long putt came up short.
He moved back to 5 under with a birdie on 15 before saving par on 16 after a very long birdie attempt stopped close to the hole. Conners' approach on 17 set him up for birdie to move him back to 4 under for the day. On 18, his second shot bounced and then hit the flagstick. He missed the birdie putt and then tapped in for par.
The Canadian enters the final day in contention for the green jacket while also looking to best his 2020 turn around the track when he finished tied for 10th.