New Zealand will be without a starter at The Masters for the third straight year after Danny Lee’s quest to win his way to Augusta National came up short at the Valero Texas Open.
A 6-under par round of 66 in the third round at TPC San Antonio gave Lee a slight sniff of victory but the five-shot deficit was too much to make up, ultimately finishing eight shots behind winner Corey Conner in a tie for seventh.
Lee, who has made two appearances at The Masters in 2009 and 2016, hadn’t finished better than a tie for 36th in eight starts on the PGA TOUR in 2019 despite starting the wraparound season with two top-10s in his first four starts.
He bounced back from a bogey at the 4th to hole a pitch shot from the left rough for eagle at the par-4 5th with a further birdie and bogey at 8 and 9 seeing him turn at 1-under on his round.
He fell back to even par with a bogey at 13 but birdies at 14 and 17 moved him back inside the top-10 with a round of 2-under 70.
Seven-under through 36 holes, Matt Jones threatened to repeat his pre-Masters victory at the Shell Houston Open five years ago heading into the weekend.
He made up further ground on the leaders with birdies in two of his three opening holes in the third round but four bogeys in the space of nine holes took the steam out of his charge, weekend rounds of 74-70 resulting in a tie for 30th.
A final round of 1-under 71 saw Aaron Baddeley finish level with Jones at 7-under for the week while Curtis Luck failed to make the third round cut after a round of 81 that included a triple-bogey seven at 12 where he could barely advance his second shot after hitting his tee shot into the native area outside the right rough.
Texas Valero Open
TPC San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
T7 Danny Lee 68-72-66-70—276 $US203,036
T30 Matt Jones 69-68-74-70—281 $45,562
T30 Aaron Baddeley 71-70-69-71—281 $45,562
MDF Curtis Luck 73-68-81—222
MC Cameron Davis 74-71—145
MC Rod Pampling 71-76—147
MC John Senden 74-73—147
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