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  • 2020 Masters Recap

    On the Range Blog

    Canadians at the Masters had an all-time week – so it was only appropriate that someone who is a part of Canada’s first family walked away with the Green Jacket on Sunday.

    While Dustin Johnson captured his second major – and first Masters – in record-setting fashion, Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont. had himself a pretty impressive week as well.

    Johnson shot 20-under over the four-day event held in November instead of April due to COVID-19, and was dominating in every aspect. Cameron Smith of Australia, who finished runner-up, was the first golfer in the history of the Masters to shoot four rounds in the 60’s – and he lost by five.

    Masters Winner Dustin Johnson

    Dustin Johnson, 2020 Masters Winner

    Johnson, the world No.1 and reigning FedExCup champion, came into the week having spent 11 days in a hotel in Las Vegas after contracting the coronavirus. But his body of work through the summer and into early fall was impressive to say the least.

    The 36-year-old has four victories this calendar year, and after he withdrew from the 3M Open in July he went T12-T2-1-2-1-T6-T2-1, the last ‘1’ being at the Masters. Golf is hard, but to Johnson, who has two children with Paulina Gretzky (daughter of Wayne – who posed in an Augusta National caddie jumpsuit with Johnson the day after his Green Jacket win) he made it look simple.

    This from a guy who shot 80-80 to miss the cut at the Memorial prior to his withdrawal the week afterwards, and who had COVID-19, and who isn’t getting any younger as compared to his long-bombing contemporaries.

    “I know 2020 has been a really strange year, but it’s been good to me,” said Johnson. “I’ve played some good golf. You know, I can’t thank Augusta enough for just having the Masters. Obviously when it was canceled in April none of us knew if we were going to be able to play in it. I was just happy to be here playing, and it worked out OK for me.”

    For Conners, it most certainly worked out OK as well.

    His second round carried over from Friday night into Saturday morning, and it was worth the wait – Conners’ 65 was the lowest round ever shot by a Canadian at the Masters, clipping the previous mark of 68 set by five others, including Mike Weir. Conners birdied No’s 8 and 9 on Saturday morning, his final two holes of the round, after darkness fell on Augusta National on Friday evening.

    PGA Tour Player, Corey Connors

    Corey Connors, Canadian PGA Tour Player

    Conners would go on to finish T10, the third-best finish by a Canadian at the Masters in history (after Weir’s victory in 2003 and Weir finishing T5 in 2005) and in the process he earned a return trip to Augusta National in 2021. That year will feature Weir, Conners, and Mackenzie Hughes, who earned his spot by virtue of getting to The Tour Championship a couple of months ago.

    Hughes and Conners grew up playing golf together in Ontario, would go on to Kent State University in Ohio together, and have long been a part of Golf Canada’s National Team Program and Conners is thrilled to have the opportunity to (finally) play the Masters with his friend – as the pair kept missing each other with their Masters appearances.

    One thing is for sure: it will be a Merry Christmas for the Conners’ inner circle.

    During the week of the Masters the players were allowed to pick up merchandise but they had to use a personal shopper – an Augusta National staffer would help reduce the touch points by players and their significant others of the gear for sale – and by Sunday night, Conners’ wife Malory was on a first-name basis.

    “I walked in Sunday and the staffer was like, ‘hello Malory!’ and I was like, ‘what?,’” joked Conners.

    Weir’s performance this week, meanwhile, was no joke.

    The 2003 Masters winner made the cut at the Masters for the first time since 2014 and shot two rounds under par at the Masters for the first time since 2006. He struggled to a 4-over-par 76 on Sunday, but playing all four rounds at Augusta National is another accomplishment for the 50-year-old, who has gone through a bit of resurgence with his life, and game, since joining PGA Tour Champions in May.

    While Adam Hadwin missed the cut, fellow B.C.-boy Nick Taylor got to play all four rounds at Augusta National in his Masters debut, finishing at 3-under and inside the top-30.

    “I loved every second of it,” said Taylor. “You look around and pinch yourself. I tried to soak it up as much as I could.”

    There were a lot of ‘pinch-me’ moments at the 2020 Masters – starting with it taking place in November – but we got one just the same, and for the Canadians (and a sort-of Canadian in Dustin Johnson) it was a week to remember.

    Written and intended to the audience by Adam Stanley