Monday qualifier earns Masters invite (but his wife steals the show), Kupcho makes history at Augusta, and professional golfer found dead in hotel: What you missed this weekend
Welcome to the Dew Sweeper, your one-stop shop to catch up on the weekend action from the golf world. From the professional tours, trending news, social media headlines and upcoming events, here's every golf-related thing you need to know for the morning of April 8.
From Monday qualifier to Masters invite
Corey Conners was one of 73 players trying to qualify for the Valero Texas Open on Monday. A week later, he's among the chosen 87 heading to Augusta National.
Conners, who won a 6-for-1 playoff during the Monday qualifier to tee it up at TPC San Antonio, turned in a pair of weekend 66s—which included a 10-birdie performance on Sunday—to win the Texas Open by two over Charley Hoffman, a win that bestowed an invite to the Masters.
“It’s a bit of a whirlwind right now,” Conners said. “It’s not what I expected to be doing after this week ended, but really excited.”
The Georgia outing looked to be a lock in the early going Sunday, as Conners came out with a blitzkrieg of four birdies in the first five holes. But the 27-year-old Canadian went south at the back end of the front, bogeying four consecutive holes to make the turn in 36. However, Conners proved undeterred with six more red figures on the back. Though far from an exercise in consistency, it was one of fortitude, and one that's been long in the making for the journeyman.
“I guess it was just meant to be,” said Conners.
Ryan Moore's 64, the low round of the day, vaulted him into third place, and Hoffman's silver medal (his best finish since the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone) is his sixth career top 10 at the event. But the day belonged to Conners, who earned a tour card, and trip down Magnolia Lane, for his efforts.
However, arguably a bigger winner than Conners? His wife...
Conners' wife steals the show
Know how an amusement park will snap a picture of your reaction coming down a roller coaster or log flume? Imagine that experience over a four-hour window, and that photo was made available for the world. Welcome to Malory Conners' Sunday.
Cameras caught Malory, wife of Cory, watching the final-round proceedings outside the ropes. Illustrated above, Conners' round was all over the map, and Malory's face could not hide its twist and turns.
Lest you think we're poking fun at Malory, it should be shouted from the rooftops that she spent her honeymoon at the Sanderson Farms Championship. Clearly the woman is a saint.
Luckily, the ride had a pretty sweet ending for the Conners, capped by an emotional rendezvous on the final green:
“She’s my biggest fan and it was awesome. We had a special moment after I tapped in on 18 and something we’ll never forget,” said Corey.
Ko earns breakthrough at ANA
Jin Young Ko won the LPGA's Rookie of the Year last season. She's showing no signs of a sophomore slump.
Ko, who won two weeks back at the Founders Cup, notched her first major victory at the ANA Inspiration.
“I still can’t believe it," Ko said. "I had a really great round today and this week. I’m really happy. I can’t believe it.”
Entering the day with a one-shot lead, Ko built her advantage to three, but bogeys at the 13th and 15th holes put the issue in doubt. Yet Ko answered with a birdie at the 16th, and another bird at the closing hole gave her a two-shot win over M.H. Lee.
Ko was fueled by a no-nonsense, conservative approach, hitting 12 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens. Also helping her cause: having David Brooker on the bag. Brooker caddied for Grace Park when she won at Mission Hills in 2004 and for Lorena Ochoa's victory in 2008.
The win, her fifth top-three finish in six events, moved Ko to the top of the money list. More importantly, she became the 15th South Korean to win a major.
"It's a really great honor for me," she said. "So many Korean players made great job in this tournament. So really honored to be here."
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kupcho makes history at Augusta
In the crucible of the inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur, Jennifer Kupcho couldn't see. The World No. 1 amateur suffered a migraine headache, bringing pain and blurred vision, the latter so extreme that Kupcho couldn't decipher marked lines on her ball for two holes.
“I just told myself, ‘Hey, you got it. Relax. There's nothing you can do,’” Kupcho said. “And I think going through my head, I just knew that the blurriness would go away, and then I know it just comes with a bad headache after, so I was going to be able to recover.”
Did she ever. Kupcho overcame a two-shot deficit with six holes to go by making eagle at the 13th and birdies at the 15th, 16th and 18th to win the ANWA by four over Maria Fassi.
“That’s the kind of player she is,” said Fassi, who responded with a birdie at the 14th but bogeyed the 16th and 18th. “She’ll do that when she has to. That’s one of the things I admire and respect most about her. She’s not afraid of going for it, and she’s not afraid to be great.”
The event could not ask for a more decorated winner in its debut. Kupcho is the reigning NCAA champion, and already has status on the LPGA Tour.
“Coming out of it with Maria in the final group with me, I think both of us kind of just wanted to send the message that golf is about having friends, and to be out there with her, we were cheering each other on, and that's kind of how golf is supposed to be,” Kupcho said.
Given the tournament's rave reviews, there was nothing blurry about that on Saturday.
Arep Kulal/Asian Tour
Player found dead in hotel
Arie Irawan, a rising star on the PGA Tour China circuit, was found dead in his hotel room on Sunday. The PGA Tour confirmed the 28-year-old had passed on the Chinese resort island of Hainan.
Irawan was competing at the Sanya Championship, where he had missed the cut.
"We are greatly saddened to have to report the news that a member of the PGA TOUR Series-China family, Arie Irawan of Malaysia, passed away this morning," read a statement from PGA Tour China. "Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."
According to the tour, Irawan appeared to die of natural causes, although the official coroner's report has not been completed.
Arie turned professional in 2013. He won two events on the Asian Development Tour in 2015, with two more victories coming on his home Professional Golf of Malaysia Tour. His golf career was briefly sidetracked in 2016 when he was involved in an accident on a moped and sidelined for several months. His wife Marina, who he married last May, would often work as his caddie.
"Sometimes life is just cruel..-RIP Mr Arie Irawan," wrote Australian pro Scott Hend on Twitter. "Fenix XCell brand ambassador and all round good guy. Taken way to early. You will be missed. May you make everything wherever you go."
Officials cancelled the final round of the tournament, making it a 54-hole event, out of respect to the family and, officials said.