DES MOINES, Iowa — Stephen Ames birdied the 17th hole and closed with a 5-under 67 on Sunday for a one-shot victory over Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly in the Principal Charity Classic, giving Ames his third PGA Tour Champions title this year.
Ames, Stricker and Tim Herron shared the 36-hole lead. Herron fell back with a 72. Stricker, coming off his second straight major title this year at the Senior PGA Championship, played bogey-free for a 68. He just couldn’t keep up with Ames.
“It was a battle today, there’s no doubt about that,” Ames said. “Steve, obviously the way he’s played this year already tells you it was going to be a good battle, and the fact that I ended up on top is more fulfilling than anything else right now.”
Kelly had four straight birdies on the front nine and closed with two birdies over the last three holes, but he had to settle for par on the 18th that kept him out of a playoff.
Rod Pampling (66) and Tim Petrovic (67) tied for fourth.
Stricker and Ames lead the PGA Tour Champions with three victories apiece this year, though Stricker kept his lead in the Charles Schwab Cup on the strength of his two majors.
“Last year I had no wins and finished eighth (in the Schwab Cup). This year I’ve come out and got three under my belt already,” Ames said. “So now I’m contemplating looking at my schedule thinking I can take a couple weeks off here and there, so we’ll see what happens.”
Stricker now moves on to his native Wisconsin as the player-host of the American Family Insurance Championship.