Ames victorious at Mitsubishi Electric Classic
Former THE PLAYERS winner earns his first PGA TOUR Champions victory in 49 starts
April 16, 2017
By Bryan Mullen, PGATOUR.COM
- April 16, 2017
- Stephen Ames expected a charge from his competitors on Sunday but he held off the field. (Courtesy of Michael Heape Photography)
DULUTH, Ga. – Stephen Ames held the lead entering Sunday’s final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Classic, but the leaderboard was tight and there were big names everywhere.
Apparently it didn’t affect him.
Ames won his first PGA TOUR Champions title, holding off a charging field at TPC Sugarloaf while shooting an impressive bogey-free 6-under 66. He finished at 15 under for the week, four shots ahead of Charles Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer.
"It's fun, that's for sure," Ames said. "It's the same feeling as any tour that you win on. It's a thrill, it's a real thrill right now."
A key moment came at No. 7 when Ames' lead had shrunk to one shot. But he chipped in for birdie, prompting him to continue to build his lead as the final round wore on.
"It wasn't an overly tough chip, it was just to make sure that I got the club under the ball where I could create the spin that I needed to get it to stop," Ames said. "I had read the line like a putt and I picked my spot where I wanted to land it, and when I hit the ball and it came off the face, it was like, 'Oh, this felt good,' and it landed on my spot. The ball went into the hole like a putt, so it was perfectly executed. Great chip."
It was the 49th career start for Ames on PGA TOUR Champions. His best finish was a T4 at last year’s Tucson Conquistadores Classic. Entering the week, Ames had recorded two top-10 finishes in the first five events. He only had three top-10 finishes in all of 2016.
Langer made a big run in the final round. But after starting the day too far back in the pack, he ran out of holes despite a stellar round of 7-under 65.
Fred Funk, David Frost and Brandt Jobe finished in a tie for third, five shots back of Ames.
Defending champion Woody Austin had a strong showing and ended the week at T6.
Ames won four times during a successful career on the PGA TOUR, including THE PLAYERS Championship in 2006.
Ames becomes the 11th player to win on the Web.com Tour, the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions.
Stephen Ames' runaway victory at Mitsubishi Electric Classic
Stephen Ames, 67-68-66 – 201 (-15)
• Ames, the 36-hole leader, protected his one-stroke lead by birdying No. 1. He followed with birdies on Nos. 3 and 6, and his chip-in birdie on No. 7 got him to 13-under. No other player was better than 11-under at any point on Sunday.
• The 15-under-par total is a new tournament record, bettering Miguel Angel Jimenez’s 14-under total in 2014.
• He won $270,000 and is now No. 5 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings with $382,800.
• He won four times on the PGA TOUR, including the 2006 PLAYERS Championship. With the win, Ames is now the 11th player to win on the Web.com Tour, PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions.
• Ames becomes the third Canadian to win on PGA TOUR Champions, joining Dave Barr (2003 Royal Caribbean Classic) and Rod Spittle (2010 AT&T Championship).
• Born in San Fernando, Trinidad, Ames holds dual citizenship of Trinidad and Tobago and Canada. In 2014, he was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
• Ames is the first first-time winner since Doug Garwood won the SAS Championship last October.
• He only made two bogeys on the week, fewest in the field.
• His 15-under total is his best 54-hole score in relation to par on this Tour. Earlier this season, he was 14-under and finished T6 at the Allianz Championship.
• He now has three top-10s in five starts this season (T6, Allianz Championship; T9, Tucson Conquistadores Classic). He had three top-10s in 20 starts in 2016.
• Playing with the 36-hole lead for the first time in his PGA TOUR Champions career, Stephen Ames converted it into his first career victory.
• This marks the second time a 36-hole leader has gone on to win this season. Scott McCarron won after being one of four co-leaders after the second round of the Allianz Championship.
• All six winners this season have played in the last group in the final round.
Bernhard Langer, 67-73-65 – 205 (-11)
• One day after he shot 73, ending his streak of 36 straight rounds under-par, Langer carded a bogey-free 65. When he birdied No. 15 to get to 11-under, he trailed Ames by two. However, Langer couldn’t get any closer, as he parred his final three holes and settled for a solo second-place finish.
• In five starts at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic, Langer has one win (2013), three solo second-place finishes (2014, 2015, 2017) and a tie for 11th (2016). In all, he has earned $783,450 at this tournament.
• He now has five top-10s in six starts this season. Dating back to last season, he has top-10 finishes in 13 of his last 14 tournaments. (He finished T37 at the Allianz Championship in February.)
• Langer pocketed $158,400 and extended his lead over Fred Couples in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. His season total is $750,250, giving him a $209,383 cushion over Couples.
• Fran Quinn aced the 143-yard second hole with a pitching wedge. The hole-in-one was part of a final-round 67, and he finished T27 at 4-under. It was the third hole-in-one in tournament history – Lee Janzen made 1 on No. 2 on Friday, and Trevor Dodds aced No. 2 in 2014.
• Fred Funk closed with a bogey-free 66 to finish T3. It is his first top-three finish since finishing tied for third at the 2015 Allianz Championship. He is now 14th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
• David Frost shot 68 Sunday and improved six spots on the leaderboard, finishing T3. It was his first top-10 since he finished ninth at the 2016 Toshiba Classic.
• Brandt Jobe started the day in a five-way tie for second, and his final-round 70 included 17 pars and 1 eagle. The T3 finish is his best since he finished tied for third at the Dominion Charity Classic.
• The field made 3 eagles, 104 birdies and only 13 bogeys on the 310-yard, par-4 13th, and it was the easiest hole on the course (3.587 scoring average). In 2016, No. 13 played to a 3.634 average and was the easiest par 4 on Tour.