Canadians Stephen Ames & Mike Weir Look to Make History at Harbor Shores
Stephen Ames holds the 54-hole lead at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship while countryman Mike Weir is nipping at his heels with just 18 holes left at Harbor Shores.
Ames, who shot a 4-under 67 Saturday, is at 12 under through three rounds. He leads Weir and Bernhard Langer by two as he searches for his first major championship on the PGA Tour Champions.
The two Canadians will be grouped with Langer in the final group for Sunday’s finale.
Ames was 2 under through three holes on Saturday before giving one back on the par-4 7th. He turned things around quickly, however, making birdies on No’s 9, 10, and 12 before making six straight pars to finish.
“I enjoyed the way I played, the way I handled myself, first of all. Second, I hit the ball right where I was looking at all day which… helps obviously,” said Ames. “I made some nice putts, which is obviously a key to shooting a good round at a major.”
Ames has put together a solid 2022 campaign on PGA Tour Champions, with four top-10 finishes in eight events.
He’s won twice on the PGA Tour Champions – including topping Weir by one shot at the Principal Charity Classic last June – but has never won a major championship on the over-50 circuit. He had two top-10 results at the senior majors a year ago.
His best result at the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship came in his debut in 2014, when he finished tied for 15th.
“Either way I look at it, I’m going to go out there and play my own game. I can’t control what anybody else is doing,” he said as he enters the final round of a major with a solid chance to win. “The only thing I can control is myself, so I’m going to try and keep my emotions the way they are right now and play golf.”
Ames said how he’s sitting, mentally, has been the key to his success so far this week. He’s hoping that same mindset will continue in Sunday.
“At the moment right now there’s no chitchat or whatsoever going on upstairs, which is what you need to do when you’re playing golf,” he said. “Get your subconscious to do the work and the conscious mind just enjoy it – which is what I’ve done this week.”
Weir, meanwhile, is Canada’s only male golfer to have won a major championship. He captured the 2003 Masters, a victory that can be credited to helping spur on the current generation of Canadian stars on the PGA Tour to chase their dreams.
Weir matched Ames’ 4-under 67 in the third round. He had it rolling through 15 holes and was 5 under on the day before having an unfortunate bounce off a rake on his tee shot on the par-3 17th. He scrambled for a double bogey on his penultimate hole of the day but notched a solid bounce-back birdie on his closing hole of the day.
“That tested me a little bit there,” said Weir. “All in all, it was a really good day. I played really well… played really nice golf today.”
Weir held the 36-hole lead at last year’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship before ending up tied for fifth. It was his first top-5 finish at a PGA Tour Champions major.
Weir says he and Ames have played a lot of golf together and it’ll be a fun test to chance him down on Sunday to try to win this championship.
“He’s been playing really good, really well, and he’s continued that this week,” said Weir. “We’ve all had our hands full to try to catch him. That’s always been the key in his game, ball-striking. All aspects he does well.”
Both Ames and Weir are looking to become the first Canadian to win either the KitchenAid Senior PGA or the PGA Championship. Brooke Henderson won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in 2016 while Sandra Post won the 1968 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.