PGA Tour Champions

Stephen Ames goes wire to wire to win the Trophy Hassan II

RABAT, MOROCCO - FEBRUARY 11: Stephen Ames of Canada poses with the winner trophy following the final round of the Trophy Hassan II at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam on February 11, 2023 in Rabat, Morocco. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Canada’s Stephen Ames, 58, picked up his third PGA TOUR Champions victory by going wire to wire at the Trophy Hassan II in Rabat, Morocco.

But it wasn’t without a challenge during Saturday’s final round. Australian Mark Hensby got as close as one after a birdie on No. 10, but he missed a short birdie putt at the 12th that would have tied him for the lead.

Hensby proceeded to double bogey each of the next two holes to push Ames’ lead to five, and Ames cruised home from there.

“I knew everybody else had to catch me,” Ames said. “I played the game I needed – put the ball in play. I had opportunities but didn’t make any. Unfortunately, Mark faltered with two double bogeys.”

Hensby, 51, held on to finish solo second. It was his best finish in 11 career PGA TOUR Champions starts.

Ames, who burst from the gate with what would tie for the low round of the tournament in the first round – a 6-under 67 that included eight birdies – needed only 18 pars in the final round to seal the deal.

Ames last won at the 2021 Principal Charity Classic. He led by three shots after two rounds the last time PGA TOUR Champions was in Morocco, for the 2020 Morocco Champions, but he wound up finishing second to Brett Quigley.

“Everybody knows this is a tough golf course. Takes a lot of patience, and there was a lot of patience going on for me this week. I’m ecstatic about the win. It moves me forward nicely.”

PGA Tour Champions

Weir finishes runner-up at Colorguard Classic

Mike Weir
TUCSON, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 28: Mike Weir looks on from the second hole during the final round of the Cologuard Classic at the Catalina Course of the Omni Tucson National Resort on February 28, 2021 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

TUCSON, Ariz. – Kevin Sutherland chipped in for the only birdie of the final round on No. 16 and had a tap-in for another on the next hole, shooting a 4-under 69 to overtake Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., in the Colorguard Classic on Sunday.

Sutherland trailed by two to start the day and was down four after Weir birdied the par-5 eighth in blustery conditions at Tucson National. Sutherland cut Weir’s lead in half with two birdies in his first three holes to start on the back nine and chipped in from short right of the 183-yard, par-3 16th.

Sutherland tapped in on 17 after putting through the fringe on the par 5 and just missed another birdie on the difficult 18th to close out his second victory in his last three PGA Tour Champions starts and fifth overall. He finished at 15 under, two ahead of Weir, three up on Steve Stricker and Scott Parel.

Calgary native Stephen Ames finished in a tie for 52nd place at 4-over par.

Weir had bogeys on two of his final three holes to shoot an even-par 73. The 2003 Masters champion has twice been runner-up on the PGA Tour Champions since turning 50 last year.

Phil Mickelson’s long-shot bid to win his first three PGA Tour Champions starts came to a screeching halt with a triple bogey on the par-4 ninth. He shot 73 to finish 11 shots back.

Weir opened the second round with a birdie as gusting wind bent flagsticks at sharp angles. He followed with five straight pars and walked up to the green at the par-3 seventh as Rush’s “Limelight” blared from one of the backyards lining Tucson National.

The Canadian left-hander responded with a little inspiration of his own, chipping in for birdie from about 90 feet. A curling 15-foot birdie putt at the par-5 eighth gave him a four-shot lead over Sutherland.

Sutherland, who won the Charles Schwab Championship in November in Phoenix, opened the back nine with a birdie and had another on the par-5 12th. The 56-year-old from Sacramento, California, stumbled when he couldn’t get up and down from a bunker on the par-3 14th, but closed with a flourish as conditions worsened.

Weir watched a slick 4-foot par putt slide by the hole after a nice bunker shot on No. 16 and missed a birdie putt from the fringe on No. 17 after a bunker shot ran through the back of the green. He three-putted to bogey the par-14 18th.

Mickelson was the last amateur to win on the PGA Tour in Tucson 30 years ago, but couldn’t conjure up the same magic in his return.

Nine shots back entering the final round, he had three birdies and a bogey through the first eight holes before hitting his tee shot into the water on the par-4 ninth. He then hit into the greenside bunker and three-putted for a 7.

Mickelson did avoid the mud on No. 15, at least.

He hit two good tee shots in the opening two rounds and both found the pond on the dogleg of the par 5. Mickelson made a birdie after hitting his second shot out of the mud in the first round and salved par after another mud shot in the second.

He avoided the pond altogether Sunday by hitting into the adjacent 17th fairway and ended up with par after missing a birdie putt of about 15 feet.