Conners Keeps Himself in the Equation

Corey Conners would miss this putt on the 15th hole Thursday afternoon, but would go on to defeat Jon Rahm, 3 & 1. He is the only quarterfinalist in this year's U.S. Amateur to advance that far in the championship in 2013. (USGA/John Mummert)
By Dave Shedloski
August 14, 2014

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Having recently earned a bachelor of science degree in actuarial science from Kent State University in Ohio, Corey Conners already has established a career path filled with mathematical possibilities.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I hope I’m counting numbers on a scorecard,” Conners said with a grin adorning his tanned, perspiring face.

After sweating out a mid-round stumble Thursday afternoon in a third-round match in the U.S. Amateur, the Canadian standout has at least one more day to keep track of strokes at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Of late, he’s had a lot of practice in this championship.

After advancing to the semifinals a year ago at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., Conners reached the quarterfinals of the 114th Amateur at AAC by dispatching Spain’s Jon Rahm 3 and 1.

“I guess I like match play,” said Conners, who improved to 7-1 in this championship the past two years.

He guesses.

Conners, who lost to eventual champion Matthew Fitzpatrick last year, next faces Zachary Olsen of Cordova, Tenn., at 11:40 a.m. Friday in the third of four quarterfinal matches. Olsen defeated Will Zalatoris of Plano, Texas, 5 and 3.

A pair of wild swings starting on the inward nine highlighted the battle between Conners and Rahm. With four birdies on the front, Conners, who never trailed, steadily built a 3-up lead at the turn only to see it evaporate with three bogeys in a four-hole stretch. Rahm sank a 10-footer for par at the 13th that brought the match to all square for the only time.

But Conners, of Listowel, Ontario, immediately jumped back in front when Rahm encountered trouble off the tee at 14 and had to lay up on his second shot from a buried lie in a bunker. Conners took dead aim and his short approach with a pitching wedge stopped 5 feet behind the hole. Although Rahm saved par, Conners converted the birdie.

“I felt like that was definitely the most important part [of the match],” said Conners, who carried his own bag the first few rounds but enlisted Kent State and Canadian National teammate Taylor Pendrith, who fell in the first round of match play after tying for eighth at 4-under 139 in stroke-play qualifying.

On the long par-3 15th, Rahm again misfired while Conners got up and down from just left of the green. Rahm, after putting from a collection area right of the green, pushed his 5-foot par attempt to fall 2 down.

The match ended on 17 when Rahm missed a 12-foot birdie putt and then conceded Conners’ birdie look from 8 feet.

“I was playing like Seve today a little bit,” chuckled Rahm, 19, who returns to Arizona State next week for his third year. “My short game kept me close, but Corey deserved to win. He played solid, especially there towards the end, and I made some mistakes. My driver let me down, and it had been a strength all week.”

Conners said the key to his play this week has simply been preparation. “I have a great game plan, and I am playing well,” he said. “I am getting more and more comfortable on this course. I don’t want to change a thing that I’m doing right now.

“I just want to keep it simple and stick to my game plan.”

Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based freelance writer who writes frequently for USGA websites.

Get The Rules of Golf App For Your iPhone Or Android Today
Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @USGA
World Amateur Golf Ranking
WAGR Counting Event
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image