Ames steers true course to impressive Players' victory - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Ames steers true course to impressive Players' victory

Florida was anticipating an afternoon of high drama, with an all-singing, all-dancing leader board, but in the event it was treated to a one-man show. No, Stephen Ames was not the runaway winner anyone had been expecting, but his emphatic six-shot victory in the Players' Championship here in Florida yersterday was just as impressive as his story.

For this is the son of an English father who was born on the unfashionable golfing terrain of Trinidad, who has battled with authorities over passport problems before "becoming" Canadian two years ago, and who only last month suffered a record 9 and 8 matchplay defeat at the merciless hands of Tiger Woods. He has also had an all too close brush with tragedy.

Jodi Ames flew in to Orlando with their two young sons last night to congratulate her husband on what was quite easily the biggest win of his hitherto unremarkable career and after what they have been through that must have been some hug. Last July, the former air stewardess was operated on for cancer, having three-quarters of her lung taken out in the process.

Unsurprisingly, she is still on the mend, although the fact that she was able to travel from their home in Canada shows how markedly her health has improved. Just like her family's finances after yesterday.

Rarely has £750,000 been earned with so little fuss after the world No 65's round of 67 took him to 14-under, putting acres of daylight between himself and Retief Goosen in second. For from the moment this 41-year-old extended his one-shot overnight advantage with a birdie on the second there was no looking back and there was no looking nervous.

With his brother Robert on the bag, the Ames laughed their way around this most severe of final-day lay-outs, notching up five birdies and an eagle. Sure there was a hiccup on the 10th when Stephen double-bogeyed the 10th but that is all it was. The fearless three on the par-five 16th was far more representative of a round that was best of the day by two shots.

It helped that this former European Tour regular's supposed biggest challengers, Sergio Garcia and Vijay Singh, had personal calamities with a pair of miserable 78s. In fact, seemingly everyone surrounding Ames lost their heads, except Goosen with his 69 and the group in joint-third including the increasingly impressive Swede, Henrik Stenson.

But no one lost it more than Ernie Els. The South African was so incensed with dropping four shots in the last five holes for a 71, all but throwing away the five birdies that had advanced him to seven under, that he produced an act of petulance so uncharacteristic to his laid-back, "Big Easy" image.

After refusing to do a post-match television interview, Els ignored the autograph hunters huddled by the scorer's tent and stormed up the stairs leading to the clubhouse.

Upset that one of their heroes had snubbed them, a few of the fans began to swear at Els, who was by now above them on the walkway. The 36-year-old stopped, glared at those who he believed were the offenders and angrily threw his glove at them. It was probably fortunate for the unruly youngsters that the world No 5 did not have anything heavier in his hand.

In contrast, Woods was as gracious as ever after a 75 that left him in joint 22nd and inwardly seething. He was inevitably questioned again how his father's ailing health back in California would affect his Masters' preparation ­ or even participation ­ and the world No 1 replied once again that he just did not know what would happen.

But Greg Owen and Ian Poulter will not be in Georgia barring a miracle (unlikely) or an invite (unlikelier). The former finished valiantly with a 73 that was not quite good enough to achieve the required top-13 placing while Poulter never even got with sight of the top three with his 75.

How the Augusta traditionalists will miss those trousers.

* Jean Van de Velde, the Frenchman who so memorably threw away a three-shot lead on the last hole of the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie, yesterday won the Madeira Island Open at Santo da Serra for his first European Tour title in 13 years. The 39-year-old survived a double-bogey six on the 72nd hole to beat England's Lee Slattery by a shot.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks