LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The legacy of nail-biter finishes at Walt Disney World Resort added another chapter Sunday (Nov. 15) when Canada’s Stephen Ames parred the second hole of a playoff with George McNeill and Justin Leonard to win the 2009 Children’s Miracle Network Classic, the final event of the PGA TOUR season. It marked the 21st time in the last 28 years that the Classic was decided either by a playoff or a single stroke in regulation.
For Ames, it also marked a second nail-biter win at Disney in the last three years. In 2007, he hit out of a greenside bunker on No. 18 and one-putted for par to protect a one-stroke victory. This time, he needed five birdies on his final seven holes, capped by a birdie on the difficult No. 18, to catch McNeill and Leonard at 18-under-par 270 and become part of the playoff.
After Leonard’s potential tournament-winning birdie putt lipped out on the final hole, he three-putted the same hole for bogey at the start of the playoff and was eliminated. McNeill, who scrambled for a par on the first playoff hole, had his putt for par on the second playoff hole, the par 3 Magnolia No. 15, lip out. That sealed the victory for Ames, who had tapped in for par.
With the victory, Ames earned $846,000 of a $4.7 million purse. He also became the sixth player to win the Disney event more than once, joining three-time winner Jack Nicklaus and two-time winners Tiger Woods, Larry Nelson, John Huston and Tim Simpson.
As the last event of the PGA TOUR season, the Children’s Miracle Network Classic finalized the official-money list, a key factor in determining pros’ playing status for 2010. For more details, visit www.pgatour.com.