Stephen Ames claims second PCC title,
holding off Steve Stricker and defending champion Jerry Kelly
Stephen Ames held off Charles Schwab Cup leader Steve Stricker and defending champion Jerry Kelly to win the Principal Charity Classic at Wakonda Club for the second time. It also was the third victory of the year for Ames, tying Stricker for the most on PGA TOUR Champions in 2023.
Ames had a one-stroke lead until a three-putt at No. 14 gave him his first bogey of the tournament. Stricker was able to tie him at 16 under, and by the time they reached the 16th hole, they had been joined at 16 under by Jerry Kelly and Tim Petrovic.
Ames calmly stepped to the tee at the par-3 17th and stuck his tee shot to 6 feet. Stricker, who went the entire week without a bogey, just missed the green left and rolled his chip by the hole. Ames buried his birdie putt for what proved to be the final margin when Stricker couldn’t birdie the short, par-4 18th.
“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, which is more fulfilling than anything else right now.”
Ames, 59, is enjoying the best season of his Champions Tour career. Before this year, he had won only twice, the 2017 Mitsubishi Electric Classic and the 2021 Principal Charity Classic. He won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic again this year, too, as well as the Trophy Hassan II.
Ames is the third player to win the Principal Charity Classic at least twice, joining Bob Gilder (2002, 2011) and Jay Haas (2007, 2008, 2012).
It has become a tradition at the PCC that the champion sponsors a special needs-customized bicycle donation with Variety-the Children’s Charity at the following years tournament. Inspired by the emphasis on benefitting children by Principal Financial Group and the tournament, following his victory Ames announced that he and his wife, Kelly, would be donating two special needs bicycles to deserving children.
The 2023 Principal Charity Classic took place June 2-4, 2023 at the historic Wakonda Club.
For more information, please visit www.principalcharityclassic.com or connect with the tournament on social media at facebook.com/principalcharityclassic, Twitter @PCCTourney, and Instagram @principalcharityclassic.
About the Principal Charity Classic
The Principal Charity Classic is an annual and award-winning PGA TOUR Champions event dedicated to investing in the future of Iowa kids. In 2022, the Principal Charity Classic raised a record $8.2 million for charity, bringing the tournament’s giving total to more than $45.6 million since 2007. Tournament funds benefit organizations that provide a broad level of support to Iowa kids in the areas of education and culture, financial security, and/or health and wellness. Last year, the tournament touched the lives of more than 130,000 children statewide.