Stephen Ames kept his word.
Winless in his first 165 career starts, Ames made good on the promise he gave his two young sons by winning the Western Open in Lemont, Ill., yesterday. He shot a 1-under-par 70 to finish at 10-under 274 and win by two strokes.
"I promised them I was going to win the trophy at the beginning of the week," Ames said, unable to suppress a smile. "This is their first week out on Tour with me since Phoenix, and I told them, `Guys, I'm going to win this week for you.'
"And our dream came true."
The first touring pro from Trinidad and Tobago fought to control his emotions over the final three holes, and he looked overwhelmed when fans at the 18th green greeted him with a standing ovation. After he putted out, he and his caddie -- his brother, Robert -- hugged.
Ames then walked to the edge of the green, crouched down, opened his arms, and his sons ran into his embrace.
"The last three holes, I was watching the leaderboard and it was tough," he said. "I kept asking where my wife was because I wanted to make sure my boys were there to enjoy this with me, as well."
Steve Lowery (70) was two strokes behind Ames. Though he missed out on his first victory since 2000, he did earn a trip to the British Open as the lowest finisher not previously exempt.
Champions -- Jim Thorpe capped a 3-under 67 with an 18-foot par putt and beat three players by one stroke at the Long Island Classic in East Meadow, N.Y., making him the first player this year on the Champions Tour to defend a title. Thorpe, 55, won for the second time this year and the ninth time on the tour. His 9-under 201 total was one better than Bobby Wadkins (70), Andy Bean (67), and Wayne Levi (68). Thorpe entered the final round four shots behind leader Jerry Pate but made three birdies on the front nine.
European -- US Open champion Retief Goosen shot a 4-under 68 to win the European Open in Straffan, Ireland, pulling away for a five-stroke victory. Goosen, who led by one shot after three rounds, finished at 13-under 275. Richard Green (66), Lee Westwood (71), and Peter O'Malley (70) ended at 280.
Goosen is the first player to win his first start after claiming a major since Woods in 2000 (PGA, NEC Invitational).