Corey Conners tees off on the 18th hole during the...

Corey Conners tees off on the 18th hole during the first round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament, Friday, March 31, 2023, in San Antonio. Credit: AP/Rodolfo Gonzalez

SAN ANTONIO — Corey Conners birdied four of his final five holes Friday for an 8-under 64 to finish with the lead after the weather-delayed first round at the Valero Texas Open.

Conners, the winner here in 2019, took a two-shot advantage over Patrick Rodgers with the second round getting started later Friday.

Following Rodgers’ 6-under 66, Chris Kirk birdied his final three holes for 5-under 67 to sit three back alongside Hayden Buckley and Peter Malnati.

The first round was delayed Thursday more than three hours due to fog and before play was called for darkness, veterans Padraig Harrington and Matt Kuchar each shot a 4-under 68 to take the clubhouse lead with MJ Daffue and Roberto Diaz. Taylor Montgomery and Michael Kim finished their rounds Friday and joined that group at 68, four back of Conners.

Conners made putts of five feet or less on three of his late birdies in the opening round. But his birdie at hole No. 15 came from just inside 20 feet after his approach from 140 yards out was short of the pin.

Conners has not won since his Texas Open trophy four years ago, when his best rounds were the 66s he fired each day of the weekend. He has not finished in the top 10 this season; his 12th-place finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii has been the best in 10 events.

Looking for his first PGA Tour victory, Rodgers capped off his first round Friday when he reached the par-5 eighth hole (his 17th) in two. From 265 yards out, he rolled onto the green and had a four-foot putt for eagle. He pushed it past and and tapped in for birdie, and got another on his closing hole when he sank a four-footer.

Corey Conners hits from the fairway on the 18th hole...

Corey Conners hits from the fairway on the 18th hole during the first round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament, Friday, March 31, 2023, in San Antonio. Credit: AP/Rodolfo Gonzalez

He was third in November at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship and won once on the PGA’s Korn Ferry Tour in Colombia in 2015.

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