Stephen Ames continued the best year of his PGA TOUR Champions career on Sunday with a victory at the Boeing Classic at the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge just outside Seattle.
Nursing a one-shot lead over defending Boeing champ Miguel Angel Jimenez and defending Schwab Cup champion Steven Alker entering the final round, the 59-year-old Ames fired a bogey-free, 9-under 63 to win by seven strokes and record his fourth victory of 2023. Only Steve Stricker has more (five).
Ames chipped in for eagle on the par-5 first hole to push his advantage to two, and it never got closer the rest of the way. He also eagled 18 to finish at 19 under and tie the tournament scoring record. Ames played his last five holes in 6 under to shoot 30 on the back nine.
It stood in stark contrast to a year ago, when Ames led the Boeing heading to the back nine only to shoot 3 over coming in and be overtaken by Jimenez to finish in a tie for third. The Canadian played quickly and confidently on Sunday, and he rolled in seemingly every putt he looked at.
“Even up to 14 it was still a ballgame because it was only two shots still in it,” Ames said. “I mean, when Steven missed the birdie putt on 14 and I made mine, then it went to three again. Like I said, it was still a ballgame, still had to play golf coming in.
“A lot of players always get themselves ahead of the game and you’ve got to stay in the present, which I kept telling myself.”
Alker and Jimenez simply couldn’t keep up with Ames on this day. Both went out in even par, digging their hole to four strokes. Jimenez wound up in second after a 3-under 69. Alker shot 1-under 71 to tie for third with K.J. Choi, who shot 65.
But it was another Sunday that was all about Ames. It was the fourth time in 2023 he entered the final round with a lead, and the fourth time he closed successfully. It was a bit of a home game as well: Ames’ Vancouver home is about a short, two-hour drive from Snoqualmie. He rolled in a 20-footer on the par-3 17th, the hardest hole on the course, for birdie and followed with an eagle on the par-5 18th after hitting driver, long iron to 3 feet.
“I kept pushing myself as the closing holes were coming in just to keep in front, keep pedaling, keep pushing the pedal, and I did,” Ames said. “The way I ended up finishing, I didn’t expect that that, but it came out on top, which is nice.”
Alker could only tip his cap.
“He didn’t miss a shot,” Alker said. “He made the putts he needed to. I think all his wins have been, I don’t know, five-shot wins this year at least, so it’s pretty impressive.”
Ames got his big year started in February at the Trophy Hassan II in Morocco with a five-shot victory. He won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic outside Atlanta in May by four, and he claimed the Principal Charity Classic in June by a shot.