Corey Conners followed up his 66 on Saturday with a final round, six-under 65 on Sunday that put an exclamation mark on his Olympic men’s golf experience, but left him out of the medals at the Kasumigaseki Country Club East Course near Tokyo.
American Xander Schauffele won gold at 18 under, with Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini finishing a shot back to take silver after firing a final round 61.
.A seven-person playoff between Rory McIlroy, C.T. Pan, Collin Morikawa, Mito Pereira, Sebastián Muñoz, Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama saw Pan emerge with the bronze medal.
Conners finished 13th at 13 under, two shots out of that playoff, while Mackenzie Hughes shot a final round 75 to finish three under through all four rounds and tie for 50th.
“I would have liked to have got a few more birdies to fall on the front nine,” said Conners.
“Highlight of the round, No. 9, hit a four iron out of a fairway bunker to about 12 feet and was able to convert that for birdie, so gave me some good mojo for the back nine,” he added.
“I was trying to press a little bit to make as many birdies as I could and really gave myself some decent chances, really disappointed to bogey the 14th hole,” he said.
“They moved the tees up where the hole was reachable today where it really hadn’t been that reachable in the previous few days, but made a bogey there,” said Conners.
“It was tough, but I followed it up with some birdies and, yeah, didn’t quite have my best stuff this week, but overall, it was good last couple days,” he said, adding he hopes to have future Olympic experiences.
“It’s incredible to feel the love from everyone in Canada as part of the Team Canada and having a good friend, Mac, here was awesome to share that experience with him, really cool to kind of feel that team atmosphere again like we had in college and some of the junior golf days,” said Conners.
“It’s an incredible spectacle, really proud to have represented Canada and I really look forward to trying to qualify for more teams in the future,” he said.
Hughes feels the same way despite the disappointment of his final round.
“Yeah, it sucked. I sucked like the whole day and, yeah, super disappointing. That’s all I can really say about it,” said Hughes.
“It feels like you’re getting run over by a transport truck, to be honest. Yeah, it was really hard to compete those last bunch of holes, just had nothing and the guys I was playing with were tearing it up and it was just pretty helpless feeling,” he said.
That helpless feeling is not enough to turn him off the experience, however.
“Obviously I’m really proud to be from Canada and to wear the maple leaf. I’m just really disappointed in the effort that I had this week and, yeah, it will sting for awhile, but it will make me work hard for Paris and hopefully I’ll be part of that team,” he said.
“It’s an experience of a lifetime and I hope to do it again,” said Hughes.
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