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 yesterday in Lemont, Ill. 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," said Ames, who won $864,000 to bring his season earnings to a career-high $2.75 million. "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.' "
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 and opened his arms as his sons ran into his embrace.
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.
Northwestern alum and local favorite Luke Donald matched the best round of the day with a bogey-free 67, which put him in a tie for third with Mark Hensby (67) at three strokes back.
Tiger Woods began the day with a chance to get his first stroke-play victory of the year, just four shots off the lead. But he shot an even-par 71 and finished tied for seventh.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: 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.
Thorpe, 55, became the first player on tour to defend a title with his second victory of the year. He also won the Farmers Charity Classic last month.
His 9-under 201 total was one shot better than Bobby Wadkins (70), Andy Bean (67) and Wayne Levi (68).
* EUROPEAN TOUR: U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen shot a 4-under 68 for a five-stroke victory at the European Open in Straffan, Ireland.
Goosen finished at 13-under 275. Richard Green (66), Lee Westwood (71) and Peter O'Malley (70) finished at 280.