|Stephen Ames earned an invite to next week's U.S. Open in San Francisco. (Joe Skipper/Reuters/Files)
Stephen Ames seems to have a knack for these major qualifiers.
On Tuesday, the Calgary-based PGA Tour regular made a barrage of birdies at a U.S. Open sectional in Memphis, Tenn., earning an invite to next week's major championship at Olympic Club.
Last month, he survived a similar 36-hole marathon to score a spot in the British Open at Royal Lytham.
All of a sudden, the 48-year-old has a pretty impressive summer schedule.
“My heart actually goes towards, a little bit more, the British Open, but the U.S. Open is always fun,” Ames said after Tuesday’s qualifier. “It’s always fun to play in a major. I’m looking forward to them both.”
Ames fired a two-round tally of 8-under 134 in Tuesday’s weather-delayed qualifier at Germantown Country Club, good for a share of second place and one of nine spots available. He’ll be the only Canadian in the field at the 2012 U.S. Open after Canucks were a woeful 0-for-28 in Monday’s sectionals.
Ames was recently watching footage of Lee Janzen’s triumph at the 1998 U.S. Open at Olympic Club and was struck by one thing — “Oh my God, I can’t believe how short they hit it back then.”
But he also noticed the historic setup in San Francisco looked like his kind of golf course.
“Definitely, because it’s a ball-striker’s course,” Ames said. “You have to put the ball in play. Most U.S. Opens are that way. You have to shape your ball off the tee, shape your second shots into the green.”
Ames is entered in the PGA Tour’s FedEx St. Jude Classic this week in Memphis. After that, he'll head to Olympic Club to represent his adopted country — he was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago — in one of the biggest tournaments of the season.
“It's unfortunate. I wish it was different,” Ames said. “But I'm glad there will be a Canadian representative there.”
Strathmore's Dustin Risdon withdrew from Tuesday's qualifier in Memphis.