Corey Conners warmed up for his sixth Masters appearance with a victory in the Texas Open, posting a bogey-free 68 on Sunday to capture his second US PGA Tour title in the same event where he won his first in 2019.
Conners's 15-under-par total of 273 gave him a one-stroke win over American Sam Stevens, who piled the pressure on late in his bid to earn a first US PGA Tour title and an invitation to the first major of the year that starts at Augusta National on Thursday.
Canada's Conners started the day one stroke behind American Patrick Rodgers, who was also chasing a first PGA Tour title and Masters invitation.
As Rodgers struggled on the front nine at windy TPC San Antonio, Conners smoothly took control.
Conners made a three-foot birdie at the second and a five-footer at the sixth, taking firm control with an 18-foot birdie putt from the fringe at the ninth that moved him to 14-under.
Unable to take advantage of the par-five 14th, where he saved par from a greenside bunker, Conners pushed his lead to three shots with a 17-foot birdie at 15, his three pars in the last three holes proving enough to get the job done.
"I was really solid all day," Conners said. "It was a battle out here for sure, the conditions were not easy.
"Struck the ball really, really well, gave myself a lot of looks, kept things under control.
"I can't believe I got my second win here."
It was a confidence-building win as Conners heads to Augusta, where he finished tied for sixth last year.
While Rodgers's challenge faded with four front-nine bogeys on the way to a one-over 73 that left him in fifth place, Stevens made a strong bid with a six-under-par 66 that included two eagles and four birdies with two bogeys.
"A little disappointed, I played great today," Stevens said. "The right things happened — made the putts when I needed to make them, hit a few great shots when I needed to. It's easy to look back and wish you had one more, but that's all right."
After a birdie at the 13th, Stevens just missed a five-foot eagle attempt at the 14th, settling for another birdie.
He pulled within one shot of the lead with an eagle at the 17th, where he drove the green of the short par-four and drained a nine-foot putt.
"I knew that I had to do something pretty cool on the last couple holes, kind of freed me up to make a good swing, hit a good shot," he said. "I couldn't believe it got as close as it did and was able to make that one."
He had a chance to pull level at 18, but couldn't get his eight-foot birdie attempt to drop.
Conners, meanwhile, was in a greenside bunker at 18. His shot out left him 26 feet downhill to the pin, but he two-putted safely to seal the victory.