Ames is red hot

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:31 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- Stephen Ames was definitely hitting his right-handed clubs, and hitting them well, but for a time he looked exactly like Lefty.

Tearing a page out of Phil Mickelson's playbook yesterday, the sometimes gruff and introverted Calgarian was smiling, pounding fists in the gallery and dropping souvenirs in the hands of little ones.

With a course record in hand and sitting only three shots back of leader Mark Calcavecchia at his national tournament, there was obvious reason to be happy.

With Mike Weir gone, Ames did his best to ensure a Canuck would once again be in the running for the Canadian Open title.

"I'm just happy to be in this position again because it's been a long battle for me this year," said Ames, who shot a 6-under 64 yesterday to tie Lanny Wadkins's course record at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club.

"Some things have gone on in my private life, it's been difficult, and I'm just happy to be here again."

Ames's wife Jodi is recovering from having two spots of cancer removed from her lungs. Jodi, happy and healthy again, walked with the gallery yesterday watching her husband move up the leaderboard

"I'm good," she told the Sun. "Stephen should be smiling."

"It's a big relief to see her," said Ames. "I think overall it's been a big weight taken off my shoulders and life is a bit easier not to worry about the future of where the family is going."

Calcavecchia managed to retain his lead but shot over par for the first time in this tournament, moving back to 6-under for a one stroke lead on Craig Barlow and Jesper Parnevik.

"I didn't hit my driver quite as well today but I made no birdies. I'm in a half state of shock about that," said Calcavecchia. "That just never happens to me. I can usually scrape one or two in somewhere. The good news is I hit a lot of good putts."

Ryan Moore, last year's U.S. Amateur champion and a native of nearby Tacoma, Wash., sits in sole possession of third place, while Ames, Vijay Singh, Jerry Kelly and Brian Davis are all tied at 3-under.

Singh, No. 2 on the PGA Tour's money list, once again moved up after a third round 68, which puts him in good position for a chance to win his second consecutive Canadian Open.

"Game plan tomorrow is go out there, hit a lot of fairways and hang in there and see if I can make a lot of birdies coming in," said Singh.

As for another showdown with a Canadian down the stretch, Singh had a little fun with Ames, who originally hails from Trinidad and Tobago.

"I guess he's still called a Canadian, so it's no different than Mike Weir last year, anyway," Singh said.

As for Ames, he couldn't have played a more textbook round.

After blasting course officials the day before for unfair rough around the greens, the 42-year-old didn't have to think about it yesterday as he hit 11 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens.

"Today was exceptional ball striking," he said. "I missed one fairway really wide, which was my first attempt, and the other two fairways I missed were in the first cut.

"I think that is a great feat in itself around this golf course. I was very happy with the way I hit the ball today."


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