By Andrew Both
AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Eighty-seven years after a Canadian recorded a hole-in-one in the very first Masters, Corey Conners matched the feat during the third round at Augusta National on Saturday.
The effort, the sixth ever ace at the sixth hole in the Masters, helped set up Conners for a possible chance of becoming the second player from north of the border to clinch a Green Jacket, after Mike Weir in 2003.
Weir was in the gallery on Saturday proudly wearing his jacket after missing the cut the previous day.
Conners, 29, in his fourth Masters, goes into the final round five strokes behind Japanese leader Hideki Matsuyama.
Conners married judgment and execution for his ace, using an eight-iron and landing his ball about 10 yards in front of the cup at Augusta National. It took three bounces before rolling in for the first ace there since 2013.
“It was a little draw, turning at the pin. I think I hit the pin with a little bit of steam, but it was right in the middle, so a pretty special moment,” Conners said.
He later almost holed out from a similar distance at the par-four 18th, where his approach shot clattered against the pin on the first bounce.
But luck was not on his side this time, as his ball ricocheted 15 feet away, leading to a closing two-putt par and a four-under-par 68.
Despite his lofty position, Conners was not worried about tossing and turning all night.
“I’m notoriously a great sleeper, so I don’t think that will be a problem,” he said.
The name of the Canadian to make that ace back in 1934: Ross Somerville at the 16th hole.
(Reporting by Andrew Both; editing by Jonathan Oatis)