As Corey Conners thrives, Listowel, Ontario hits fever pitch
As Listowel, Ontario's own Corey Conners was on the 18th hole at Augusta Thursday, Brendan Parsons was also there watching.
Parsons, the head pro from the Listowel Golf Club and director of operations, turned to his wife shortly after his final putt on the day.
"I don't even want to look at my phone right now," he told her.
Popping up on his screen were 234 notifications of people messaging and emailing him about his longtime friend's first round at The Masters.
"It was pretty crazy," he said, as Conners would end the round tied for 11th.
Conners' path to Augusta came after winning the Valero Open last week, earning him the last spot in the tournament and a whirlwind trip to Georgia.
After his final putt in San Antonio, his wife Malory jumped into his arms on the green, making headlines herself for the heartfelt and emotional reaction, not only on the win, but throughout the final round.
Parsons was crying himself.
"He's such a nice guy," Parsons said. "His family, his wife, all his friends, he's a well-grounded, well-respected and now his game is getting the respect it deserves.
Parsons made the trip to Augusta shortly after the Valero Open win and was able to spend some time with Conners earlier in the week.
The two have known each other since Conners first started playing at the local club.
Conners also worked in the shop through high school and college, where talks of his performance are everywhere.
"Anyone that comes into the shop, the first topic of discussion is Corey," said fellow Listowel pro John Schmidt said. "I can only imagine the fun that he's having down there."
Listowel has also made some national headlines with the success of the TV comedy Letterkenny, which is partly based on the town, with co-creator Jared Keeso hailing from there.
"Keeso and the success they've had, and now this, it's a pretty small town, but a pretty cool little spot," Parsons said.
As for Conners' success on the course, his fellow pro says driving has been a key, hitting fairways and greens, while also playing the course's angles well.
"Putting at Augusta is sometimes terrifying with how fast the greens are, but I thought he did a great job," he said, especially on the back-nine. "Even the bogey on 18 really didn't matter, because 70 on day one at the Masters is a pretty darn good start."