Win never gets old

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The wait was worth it.

Mark Calcavecchia cashed in on a big payday worth $900,000 yesterday after winning the Bell Canadian Open for the first time.

And he did it wire to wire for his first victory since the 2001 Phoenix Open.

The 45-year-old of West Palm Beach, Fla., shot a 1-over in the final round to grab the low total of 275, one stroke better than Ben Crane and Ryan Moore.

"I've been playing in this tournament since the early '80s and I know what a big tournament it is," said Calcavecchia, who finished second in 1989 and '94.

"You know, Jack Nicklaus never won it. He tried to win this thing so many times and came so close.

"This is sweet, I honestly can't believe it."

Calgary's Stephen Ames, attempting to become the first Canadian to win the national open since Pat Fletcher in 1954, couldn't make any birdies down the stretch to keep himself in the hunt.

Ames, who got his card as low as 4-under for the tournament yesterday, lost control off the tee in the late stages, bogeying No. 13 and doubling the last hole to finish the tournament at 1-under and tied for seventh.

"Obviously, the way I finished was a little distasteful. That's OK, it's nothing a cold Canadian won't take away," said Ames, who only hit six of 14 fairways yesterday and tapped the flatstick 28 times.

"There were times, probably the driver might have let me down a little bit but the conditions did change. It got a lot tougher today on the whole with the wind changing in different directions."

After opening the tournament with rounds of 65 and 67, Calcavecchia took a commanding lead into the weekend. However, a 2-over Saturday was only good enough to keep him a shot up on Craig Barlow and Jesper Parnevik heading into yesterday's final round.

But just as he has all week, with a steady stick from tee to green, Calcavecchia hovered around par on the very difficult Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club, never relinquishing his lead.

"I think I won this tournament playing smart golf, using course management and staying patient," said the Canadian Open's oldest champion yesterday.

"Somebody is going to have to find out when the last time somebody won a tournament making one birdie on the weekend.

"That may have never happened before in the history of golf."

Only seven players in yesterday's final round were able to shoot under par. Among them, Ben Crane and Joey Sindelar fired a 4-under and 2-under, respectively. Also making a name for himself yesterday was Moore, who hails from just outside Tacoma, Wash., and, as a result, had several fans cheering for him.

The former U.S. Amateur champion, who grabbed the spotlight after finishing tied for 13th at the Masters this summer, never looked out of place yesterday.

"My goal was to get to 8-under at the beginning of the day," he said, carding an even 70 yesterday. "Unfortunately, I made a couple too many bogeys and missed a couple really good opportunities for birdie."

Last year's champion Vijay Singh couldn't heat things up yesterday and finished 1-under for the tournament, tied with Ames and Trevor Immelman for seventh.

The PGA Tour will head to Pennsylvania for the 84 Lumber Classic before the Presidents Cup, which takes place form Sept. 19-25.


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