SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. - Stephen Ames asked his 12-year-old son, Ryan, what he was going to get him for Father’s Day.
The kid turned it right around and asked for something from his dad instead.
“To win,” Ryan quipped.
Dad found that request quite humorous.
“Yeah, OK. Maybe next year then,” Ames said with a laugh. “I’m a little far back now. Thanks. Cute.”
On moving day at the U.S. Open, Ames dropped like the temperature in Iqaluit in January. He carded a nine-over-par 79 for a three-round total of 16-over 226 that left him dead last. He had to make a tricky, right-to-left four-footer that went in the side door on 18 to avoid shooting 80.
“I was happy how I hit the ball — very happy, actually, how I hit the ball,” Ames said.
The Calgary resident whacked the ball 34 times on Olympic’s greens, which could be mistaken for concrete considering how fast and firm they are. Ames was six over after the vaunted first six holes, but he said his flat stick was to blame.
“Everything was putting,” he said.
Technically, Ames hit only six fairways all day, but he said he just missed several of them.
“On this golf course, if you’re in the first cut that’s a fairway, if you ask me,” he said.
He also hit only six greens, which would suggest it was more than his putter. Ames was inexplicably fooled by Olympic’s greens after needing only 31 and 30 putts in the first two rounds, respectively. Considering he hit more greens the first two days, Saturday’s woes were obviously an ugly combination of bad chipping and wonky putting.
“(The greens) were about the same,” Ames said. “Some greens are a little firmer than others. You could attest to that by looking at Michael Thompson’s first hole. He landed it on the front edge, and it rolled in like a putt. You’re like, whoa, that’s a little different. Then you go to the next green and it releases 10 yards, unfortunately.”
If no one else imploded late in the day, Ames will be in the first group off the tee on Sunday. And even though he’s all alone in 72nd place, he will at least cash a cheque for the fourth time in his last five U.S. Open appearances.
That’s something to build upon going into the British Open, for which he has also qualified.