Canada's Stephen Ames sets new goals after second win of Champions Tour season
After nearly four decades as a professional golfer, Stephen Ames is past the idea of setting goals for a season. Instead, his hopes are just to keep doing more.
Ames won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic on Sunday, leading the Champions Tour event for all three rounds. His second victory of the year on the men's senior golf circuit has propelled him to fourth in the Schwab Cup rankings, the Champions Tour's money list.
"I've earned myself two wins in one year, which I've never done so, obviously, I've got to think of three, if not four," said Ames, who has four career wins on the PGA Tour and a total of four on the Champions Tour. "That's the best thing we can do as a golfer, keep changing our goals, setting our goals a little higher, so that we can achieve them.
"That's what I've done. I set it to three wins in the year. Let's see how it goes."
The 59-year-old Ames, from Calgary, capped off his dominant week on the TPC Sugarloaf with a 4-under 68 on Sunday that gave him the tournament scoring record and a four-shot victory. He joined American David Toms as the only multiple winners on the Champions Tour this year. Ames previously won the Trophy Hassan II in Morocco.
He's back in action this week at Regions Tradition at Greystone Golf and Country Club in Birmingham, Ala. Ames will be joined by Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., who is 23rd in the Schwab Cup standings.
Ames said he owes the two wins to rededicating himself to his game after a shoulder injury in 2020. The pandemic-induced layoff in the spring of that year led to his shoulder seizing up and he lost the ability to swing a club.
Starting a new weightlifting and stretching regime has brought his game back, arguably to new highs.
"(The gym is a) nice adrenalin rush for me, especially at 59," said Ames after playing in the pro-am at the Regions Traditions. "I'm like, 'Yeah, OK, I can handle this every day.'
"It's just about rededicating, refocusing on what was important, and so that's what I've done."
Ames wasn't the only Canadian who had an impressive showing over the weekend.
Selena Costabile of Thornhill, Ont., finished sixth at the Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes in Kansas. Her second top-10 finish of the Epson Tour season moved her up to 38th from 70th on the second-tier tour's Race for the Card money list.
"I was really focused on just doing my routine and controlling the things that I can control and just letting go all the expectations," said the 24-year-old Costabile. "I feel like in the past, I've been really focused on results.
"In a game like golf, you definitely cannot control the results or the weather or anything like that. Just being super focused on things I could control for the week and just put my mind at ease."
The Epson Tour season resumes next week with the IOA Golf Classic presented by LPT Realty in Longwood, Fla., on May 19.
PGA TOUR — Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., is the top-ranked Canadian in this week's AT&T Byron Nelson. He's 30th in the FedEx Cup standings. Adam Hadwin (50th) of Abbotsford, B.C., Michael Gligic (200th) of Burlington, Ont., and Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., will join Hughes at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas.
DP WORLD TOUR — Aaron Cockerill of Stony Mountain, Man., is in the field at this week's Soudal Open at Rinkven International Golf Club in Antwerp, Belgium. He moved up one spot in the European-based tour's rankings last week, to sit 23rd.
LPGA TOUR — Maddie Szeryk of London, Ont., is No. 53 on the Race to the CME Globe standings heading into this week's Cognizant Founders Cup. She'll be joined at the Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, N.J., by Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., who is 82nd in the LPGA Tour's points list.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2023.
John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press