Rodgers Hangs On to One-Stroke Lead Over Conners in 93rd Valero Texas Open

Patrick Rodgers of Stanford kept his spot atop the leaderboard despite a difficult day in the third round of the Valero Texas Open.

The 30-year-old Rodgers, who has never won on the PGA Tour, posted a one-under par 71 and will take a one-stroke lead over Corey Conners of Canada to the final round of the 93rd Texas Open on the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas.

“I didn’t quite take advantage of things the way I had in the previous two rounds,” said Rodgers, who started 66-67, and even though he struggled a bit in the third round, he never lost the lead. “I was a little sloppy with the wedge play today and a little sloppy on the greens. But I knew there was a long way to go heading into Sunday.

“I think we all know what’s at stake with a win out here this week (a berth on the Masters). I haven’t gotten the job done yet in my career, but it’s quite a thrill to be in this position. This is why I play, why I compete. And I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow.”

Rodgers, whose only professional victory came in the 2015 Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour, made a bogey on his last hole and finished 54 holes at 12-under 204.

Conners, who won the 2019 Valero Texas Open for his only victory as a professional, birdied five holes on the back nine in a 69 and is one shot back in second, while 44-year-old Matt Kuchar made three birdies on each nine before stumbling with a double-bogey 7 on the last in another 69 and is three down in third.

“I love this golf course and feel really comfortable out here,” said Conners, who had seven birdies in his round but missed a seven-foot birdie putt on the last hole that would have tied Rodgers for the lead. “I’ve been working hard over the last number of years to try to get back in the winner’s circle and give myself some opportunities and feel like this is a great opportunity here,.

“I like a lot of the things I did today. I made some birdies on the back nine today and have some good momentum from that going into the final round. It’s going to be a fun battle tomorrow, but I’ll be giving it my all.”

Chris Kirk, who recently won the Honda Classic for his fifth PGA Tour victory, eagled the second and 17th holes in a 69 and is four shots back in a big tie for fourth with 51-year old Padraig Harrington of Ireland, who birdied three of the last five holes in a bogey-free 68; Sam Stevens, who birdied four of the first five holes and the last three in a second straight 68; Byeong Hun An of South Korea, who birdied three of the first four holes en route to another 68; Sam Ryder, who made three birdies on the back nine in another 68; Lee Hodges, who birdied the last two holes for a 69; Augusto Nunez of Colombia, who had two late birdies in another 69, and Harry Higgs, who birdied No. 17 to salvage a 72.

Defending champion J.T. Spaun of Los Angles and San Diego State made two birdies on each nine in a 70 and is tied for 30th.

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