Ames Captures First Title at Western

By Sports NetworkJuly 4, 2004, 4:00 pm
Cialis Western OpenLEMONT, Ill. -- Stephen Ames posted a 1-under 70 Sunday to notch his first PGA Tour victory at the Cialis Western Open. He finished at 10-under-par 274 and beat Steve Lowery by two strokes.
Luke Donald (67) and overnight co-leader Mark Hensby (73) tied for third place at 7-under-par 277, while Stuart Appleby (72) and Geoff Ogilvy (73) shared fifth at minus-6.
Tiger Woods, a three-time winner who titled here last year, never mounted a final-round charge. He shot an even-par 71 and tied for seventh place with Davis Love III (68), Carl Petterson (69) and Jim Furyk (71). The group came in at minus-5.
'I just couldn't get it close,' said Woods, who nearly missed his first cut in 126 starts on Friday. 'I needed to give myself a lot of looks and I did. Unfortunately they were from 20, 30 feet on every hole. You know, that's fine if you're leading the tournament, but I wasn't leading the tournament.'
With Woods in striking distance of the lead, Ames used steady play on Sunday to secure his first PGA Tour title.
Ames shared the 54-hole lead with Hensby and ran into trouble early in his round. He bogeyed the third hole, but no other player on the leaderboard was going low due to swirling wind and the tough conditions at Cog Hill.
Ames got into a tie for first with a spectacular iron shot at the par-3 12th. He ran home the 6-foot birdie putt to join Lowery in the lead, but trouble loomed for Lowery.
Lowery hit an awful drive short and in the left rough at the par-4 13th and walked off with a double bogey. He fell two behind the pace Ames was setting.
At the par-5 15th, Ames reached the green in two. He two-putted from close to 50 feet for birdie and a three-shot lead at 10 under par. Ames' margin look threatened at the 16th hole. He drove in the first cut of rough and missed the green with his second. Ames chipped to 10 feet to stay at minus-10.
Lowery made it interesting with a birdie at the 17th hole. He now trailed by two, but drove into a fairway bunker at the last and looked like he might fall into a tie for second. Lowery sank a 7-foot par save to polish off a round of 1-under 70.
Lowery also earned a spot in the British Open in two weeks thanks to his high finish in this tournament.
'I wasn't thinking about the British Open thing at all,' admitted Lowery. 'I knew if I made that I'd be sole second, so I was happy to knock that putt in. I didn't try to qualify at Congressional and I wasn't planning on going. I had already committed to tournaments over here. I'll probably withdraw out of some of these tournaments and go play the British Open.'
Ames stood on the 18th green with another birdie opportunity. His 35-footer stopped a foot from the hole but no matter. Ames secured the victory and took the $864,000 first-place check.
'For me, it was emotional,' said Ames, a two-time winner on the European Tour. 'I had to hold tears back and stop thinking ahead of myself. Overall it was very emotional for me.'
Ames, the lone player on the PGA Tour from Trinidad & Tobago, picked up PGA Tour victory No. 1 at the age of 40. The last player to collect his first tour win at the age of 40 or older was Brad Bryant at the 1995 event at Disney World.
'I'm not given the recognition of my career, on what I've done, because the sports in Trinidad are cricket and also soccer,' said Ames. 'I think a lot of things are going to change.'
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.