The clubs Corey Conners used to win the 2023 Valero Texas Open
Corey Conners studied actuarial math in college at Kent State but he didn’t need that skill to understand why he won the Valero Texas Open for the second time. When you rank first in strokes gained/approach, strokes gained/tee to green and first in greens in regulation, third in driving accuracy, have the fewest bogeys and are T-1 in birdies it doesn’t take a math major to understand you have a good chance to win.
At TPC San Antonio’s Oaks Course accuracy off the tee and precision into the greens is paramount as wayward shots are heavily punished. That was something Conners seemed well aware of after Saturday’s third round. “It's very demanding with your irons into the greens,” he said. “There are some unique shaped greens, some skinny greens, big greens. You've really got to be in control of your ball and that's something that I've always liked about this place.”
As such, Conners leaned on his reliable iron game (he came into the event ranked 28th in greens in regulation for the season). He picked up more than nine shots on the field on approach shots while hitting 56 of 72 greens (77.8 percent) using his Ping iBlade irons with Project X 6.0 shafts and Golf Pride MCC grips. The iBlade is the same model iron Conners used to win the Valero in 2019, his one other PGA Tour victory. On Sunday Conners put up a bogey-free 68, the last birdie an 18-footer on the 15th that stretched the lead to three and eventually proved to be the difference.
G430 MAX / G430 SFT / G430 LST / G430 HL
WHAT IT DOES: The engineers at Ping like to say, “We don’t really drop things that tend to be working.” The G430 line continues to employ a heavy dose of forgiveness, stability and the aerodynamic efficiencies of turbulator ridges on the crown. But the G430 lineup further amplifies an ultra-forgiving design by introducing an improved variable-thickness face pattern and structural support for more energy transfer at impact.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Ping gets ample credit for the big things, like its clubhead stability, but it does the little things well, too. The G430’s face curvature, with less loft on the lower portion of the face, reduces spin so that weaker shots fly more efficiently. Read more>>>
Of course, accuracy off the tee helped set up those approaches, and Conners was on the mark with his Ping G430 LST driver. The club has a 45.25-inch UST Mamiya LIN-Q M40X shaft that is tipped one inch with the movable weight in the neutral position.
Conners also gets some good vibes from his Titleist Pro V1 ball. “I mark it with two red Ms, which are my wife’s initials,” he told Golf Digest last year. “I started doing that when we first started dating and it’s served me well.”
As for that actuarial math, that probably served him well, too. “It does have application out on tour,” he told Golf Digest last year. “It helps with risk assessment and making good decisions is an attribute of that mindset and that translates to my golf game, and I think I’m good at that.”
At a course that demands good decisions he wasn’t just good at it. He was the best.
What Corey Conners had in the bag at the 2023 Valero Texas Open
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Driver: Ping G430 LST (UST Mamiya LIN-Q M40X), 9 degrees
3-wood: Ping G430 Max, 13.75 degrees
Hybrid: Ping G425, 19 degrees
Irons (4-PW): Ping iBlade
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 (50, 56 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM8 (60 degrees)
Putter: Ping PDL Prime Tyne H