Ames Wife a Cancer Survivor Inspires


2005 Bell Canadian OpenVANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Stephen Ames was walking off the first tee at the Canadian Open on Saturday when he spotted a familiar face in the crowd. He walked over and gave his wife a big hug.
After battling lung cancer this summer, Jodi Ames was back on the course, and her husband's game was clearly better for it.
``It's a big relief to see her,'' Ames said after matching a course record with a 6-under 64 at Shaughnessy Golf Club and moving within three shots of third-round leader Mark Calcavecchia.
Ames started the round at the 10th hole, and by the time he made the turn, was at 5 under. His smile got even wider after Jodi joined him for the final nine holes.
``The fact she's out walking around and following me again like she did in the past, I think overall has been a big weight taken off my shoulders, and life is a bit easier not having to worry about the future of my family,'' he said.
Ames wife was diagnosed with cancer in April and had part of her lung removed the Monday after the British Open in July.
Saturday was her first time back on the golf course, and her husband wasn't the only one happy to have her back. Ames' playing partner, Chris DiMarco, gave her a big hug on the third hole.
``I just wanted to let her know they have a big family out here and a lot of people thinking about her and praying for her,'' DiMarco said.
Ames said his wife still tires easily and can only walk nine holes. He said it will take a year for her to fully recover. But after keeping her illness to himself until the PGA Championship in August, he was clearly more at ease with her on the course, and more confident about his game.
After winning more than $3 million in a breakout 2004 season, Ames was 99th on the money list coming into the Canadian Open.
``It has been a big burden on me trying to play golf,'' said Ames, a native of Trinidad and Tobago who became a Canadian citizen in 2003. ``It was very difficult for me to focus or even see shots that I wanted to play because there are other things that were playing in my mind.''
As the last Canadian in the field of the national open, Ames' gallery grew as his score dipped Saturday. Fans were lined up five-deep by the end of his round, but it was clear afterward that one person provided more support than all the rest combined.
``You have to have a very well-balanced life to be able to perform very well,'' Ames said.
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