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Conners holds one-shot lead at men's amateur championship

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Corey Conners had four bogeys and two birdies over his last six holes.

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Corey Conners had four bogeys and two birdies over his last six holes.

He’s experienced all the runner-up positions in the last three years so Listowel, Ont.’s Corey Conners says he’s ready for the big prize.

Conners has proven it through three rounds of the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship, shooting two-under-par 68 today at Elmhurst to take a one-shot lead to Thursday’s final round.

Conners, at eight-under 204, leads New Mexico’s Sam Saunders by a single shot. Saunders shot 71 today.

Conners, 22, was tied for third in 2011 when the championship was hosted by Niakwa. He was fourth in 2012 in Ottawa and tied for second last year in Victoria.

"I came here with the mindset it’s my time to win," Conners said. "I’m just trying to do my thing out here and we’ll see what happens. But there’s still another round to be played. I’ll give it my best."

Conners’ day could have been a whole lot better, as he had four bogeys and two birdies over his last six holes. His lead was three shots at one point.

But Golf Canada has gone to some extraordinary measures to keep scores from going too low for three days at Elmhurst. For three days, tees are back, par has been reduced to 70, many pins are in extreme positions and the course has been baked to a firm-and-fast surface — greens included.

"You’ve got to be really thinking out there, making smart decisions," Conners said. "I’m usually pretty good at that so I don’t really mind how they have it set up. But some of the pins are right on the edges and if you miss it on the wrong side, you have very little chance of hitting it close."

Southwood’s Bret Thompson, who had a share of the lead early today, slipped to a 72 today and stands tied for sixth at four-under, four off the lead.

St. Charles’ Derek East held it together well today, firing a 70 to sit at two-under in a tie for 13th.

Niakwa’s Todd Fanning was one-under 69 today and is at even par through three days, while Elmhurst’s Scott Mazure was 72 for six-over, Pine Ridge’s Josh Wytinck 77 for seven-over and Breezy Bend’s Eric Johnson 76 for 10-over.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

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