It's par-tee time in city

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:02 AM ET

It was a vintage celebration at the Chophouse, and all over the city Stephen Ames calls home.

The excitement over Ames' victory at The Players Championship could be felt all the way to Calgary, especially at the Vintage Chophouse & Tavern, of which the Calgary PGA victor is part-owner.

"We're really excited. Really thrilled," said day manager Shannon Cameron.

Ames opened the day with a one-shot lead and lapped the top-rated field, winning the tournament known as the fifth major by an impressive six strokes.

He opened strong on the vicious TPC Sawgrass course, taking a four-shot lead at the turn, but a double-bogey six on the 10th hole made for some tense moments.

However, Ames pulled away with an eagle-three by putting out from the fringe on the par-5 16th hole.

He followed that by shooting par on the picturesque par-3 17th and then finished his round with a textbook two-putt par on the difficult 18th.

It's Ames' second PGA victory, the other being at the Cialis Western Open in July 2004. The $1.44 million US first prize he collected is the largest pay day ever for a Canadian golfer.

By winning the prestigious tournament, Ames, whose home course is the Glencoe Golf and Country Club, has golfers in Calgary jazzed up for the coming season.

Cym Oveson, assistant pro at the Glencoe, said he and others working at the pro shop yesterday had the itch to hit the links.

"The last three holes, the way he played them was phenomenal. The way he beat the field is unbelievable," Oveson said. "Now, we're all watching the snow melt very slowly."

With the victory, Ames landed a spot at next month's Masters Tournament.

After that, he'll likely return home for what will be a celebration at the Vintage Chophouse, where he dines frequently and is known to all the staff.

"He's in every couple of weeks. He was just here, I think, a week ago," Cameron said. "I'm sure it'll be fun next time he's here."


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