HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – It was a fitting end to the storied amateur career of Corey Conners, as the Listowel, Ont., native took home top amateur honours at the Masters — a tournament he has dreamed to play in ever since first learning to swing a club.
On the heels of his remarkable performance at Augusta, the 23-year-old will debut as a professional this week at the PGA TOUR’s RBC Heritage by way of sponsor exemption.
Now in his fifth season with Team Canada, the Listowel, Ont., native will remain a member but will transition to the Young Pro Squad, joining Surrey, B.C. native Adam Svensson as new additions mid-way through the season.
Conners, a graduate of Kent State University, makes the leap to the professional ranks after winning numerous amateur events, including the Lake Macquarie Championship (2015), the Jones Cup (2014) and the Ontario Men’s Amateur Championship (2010). He was holding the No. 21 spot on the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) before making the jump.
The actuary mathematics major notched five individual collegiate victories with the Golden Flashes, along with being named to the Ben Hogan Award watch list twice (’13, ’14) and sharing Co-Mid-American Conference Player of the Year honours (2014) with good friend and fellow Team Canada member, Taylor Pendrith.
The calm, collected Conners also earned the Merle Wagoner Award, given to Kent State’s most outstanding athlete who demonstrates leadership, positive image, athletic ability and academic performance.
“The experience and relationships I have built with Team Canada has given me a leg-up on the competition and has allowed me to comfortably make this decision,” said Conners. “I’m very excited to transition to the Young Pro Squad in the next stage of my career.”
Team Canada Men’s Head Coach, Derek Ingram, was with Conners last week at the Masters and couldn’t be more supportive with the decision.“He’s clearly proven to be one of the best amateurs in the world over the last three years, with results very appropriate of turning professional,” said Ingram. “What a way to go out—finishing with a 3-under at Augusta National, the timing is perfect for him.”
Conners signed with International Sports Management (ISM) back in September of 2014.