July 12th, 2024

Canada’s Nick Taylor and Corey Conners qualify for Paris Olympics after U.S. Open

By The Canadian Press on June 17, 2024.

Corey Conners, of Canada, gestures on the third hole during the third round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

PINEHURST, N.C. – Lost in all the excitement of Bryson DeChambeau’s one-stroke victory and Rory McIlroy’s shocking implosion at the U.S. Open on Sunday was the steady and quiet even-par round of Canada’s Corey Conners.

The 32-year-old Conners, from Listowel, Ont., tied for ninth with Americans Davis Thompson and Sam Burns. The trio each earned US$502,391 for their efforts.

Conners also earned a trip to the Paris Olympics.

He and Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., had their Olympic berths made official Monday morning when the world golf rankings were updated to reflect the U.S. Open’s results.

“It would be quite a thrill to get back to the Olympics,” said Conners on Sunday before it was made official. “Very much would love to be on that team.”

Conners needed to finish 11th or better in the U.S. Open to earn an Olympic berth. It helped that the player he was trying to catch for the final Canadian spot – Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford – missed the cut at Pinehurst No. 2.

Taylor was 35th in the world golf rankings on Monday, Conners was 37th, and Hadwin was 38th.

“It was a solid week overall,” said Conners, who made the cut at the U.S. Open for the first time in six tries. “I was certainly motivated to improve on my record at the U.S. Open.

“It would have been nice to get a little higher up the leaderboard, but it was a really solid week.”

Taylor Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., needed to finish third or better at the U.S. Open to bump Hadwin, but tied for 16th at 3 over with England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Akshay Bhatia of the United States. The three players each pocketed US$299,218.

Pendrith moved nine spots up the world rankings on Monday into 56th.

Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., is currently in a position to return to the Olympics. She was 14th in the world rankings after a tie for 34th at the Meijer LPGA Classic on Sunday.

The women’s Olympic field will be finalized next Monday after the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the third women’s major of the year.

Both Conners and Henderson represented Canada at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Henderson also played at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., and Hamilton’s Alena Sharp were Canada’s other players in Tokyo.

Conners finished 13th in individual stroke play while American Xander Schauffele won the gold medal.

Henderson tied for 29th, with American Nelly Korda taking gold.

Conners also leapfrogged Hadwin in the Presidents Cup international team standings. Taylor is sixth – an automatic berth in the 12-on-12 international men’s golf tournament – while Conners is eighth, Hadwin is ninth, and Pendrith is 13th.

Canadian golf legend Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., is the international team’s captain for the biannual event that will be held at Royal Montreal Golf Club this September.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2024.

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