Canada’s Corey Conners 1 back in Punta Cana

Corey Conners
Corey Conners (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic – Corey Conners continues to make a name for himself.

The 26-year-old Listowel, Ont., native put up a scorching nine-birdie effort en route to an opening-round 64, one stroke off the lead held by American Brice Garnett. In his 66th career round on the PGA TOUR, Thursday’s round marked his career-low, bettering his previous-best 66 (-4), which he posted in the second round of the 2018 Sony Open in Hawaii.

Conners, a Team Canada program graduate, is in chase of the outright lead for a second time in three weeks—he held the first, second and third-round leads at the Valspar Championship  after coming into that week as third alternate.

In his rookie season on the PGA TOUR, Conners has made 10 cuts in 11 events. He’ll tee off at 12:50 p.m. in Friday’s second round.

Garnett was 10 shots better than his opening round at Punta Cana last year, when it was a Tour event. He shot 73-67 and missed the cut.

“I think last year I just kind of approached the golf course wrong,” Garnett said of the generous fairways on the resort course. “To me, this is a second shot golf course. Everybody’s in play off the tee and it comes down to a putting competition.”

Jonathan Byrd was in a large group at 66, while former Puerto Rico Open winner George McNeill was among those at 67.