Get to know Valspar contender Corey Conners?
PALM HARBOR, FL - MARCH 10: Corey Conners of Canada fist bumps a fan after completeing his third round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort Copperhead Course on March 10, 2018 in Palm Harbor, Florida.

If you glance at the leaderboard heading into the final day of the Valspar Championship, you'll see some familiar names near the top.

There's eight-time PGA Tour winner and Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose, as well as Brandt Snedeker, who owns eight wins himself. Then, of course, there's Tiger Woods, drawing massive crowds and playing at a level for which the golf world has been craving the last five years.

Yet, despite all the star power sprinkled throughout the field at the Copperhead course at Innisbrook, they all chase one man: Corey Conners - an unknown who remains perched atop the leaderboard with a one-stroke lead in pursuit of his first-ever Tour victory; one that, should he achieve it, would be clinched in impressive wire-to-wire fashion.

Given Conners failed to get through qualifying earlier in the week and ultimately made the tournament as an alternate, it's fair to say his rise to prominence over the week's first three rounds was unexpected. So, if you're wondering "who exactly is this guy?", we've got you covered.


Conners, 26, hails from Listowel, Ontario, a community roughly two hours west of Toronto. He turned pro in 2015 and graduated from the Tour after the 2017 season. Overall, Conners has appeared in 20 events, making the cut in half of them.

On the course

(Photo Courtesy: Getty Images)

Conners got things started with a clean 4-under 67 on Thursday, carding just one bogey through his first 18 holes. Since then, he's remained relatively unblemished, save for a lone double-bogey in Round 2, and a string of back-to-back dropped shots on the sixth and seventh holes on Saturday.

He's been tested throughout the weekend, but with a smooth swing and a calm demeanor, has yet to seriously falter - even if some of the more vicious viewers within the vaunted Snake Pit may be hoping it happens soon.

Conners is by no means the longest hitter on tour, nor the most accurate, or flashy in terms of personality. But pitted against a notoriously demanding golf course with some of the biggest names in the sport breathing down his neck, he's shown no signs of relinquishing the lead he's built so far.

Extra tidbits

Here are a few additional quick facts about Conners as he seeks his first-ever professional win.

  • He graduated from Kent State, majoring in Actuarial Mathematics.
  • Prior to this week, his best finish on the PGA Tour was T-29 at this year's Farmers Insurance Open.
  • He can become the first Canadian to win a Tour event since Adam Hadwin took the Valspar title in 2017.
Get to know Valspar contender Corey Conners?
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