David Toms came off the 16th green feeling "totally out of control." Order was restored on the two finishing holes.
Toms, rebounding from a disastrous double bogey at No. 16, birdied the last two holes Sunday to win the Sprint International.
Ames had the lead at the turn Sunday, but in a wild finish it shifted to Toms, then to Duval and finally back to Toms.
Toms, 32, finished with 47 points under the modified Stableford scoring system used in this event 3 more than Duval. Ames wound up at 43, while Chris Perry had 37 and Ernie Els and Billy Mayfair each had 35.
A much anticipated charge from Sergio Garcia never materialized. The 19-year-old Spanish sensation, showing the effects of injuring a muscle under his right armpit on Saturday, had four bogeys before finally making a birdie on 18, and finished with 30 points.
"To come back from a disastrous double at 16 is very gratifying," Toms said. "When we walked off the green, my caddie (Scott Gneiser) said to me, `Just hang in there and try to play the last two holes as good as you can."'
Toms stood at 46, Ames at 44 and Duval at 42 before calamity struck Toms and Ames at the 209-yard, par-3 16th. Both double-bogeyed to drop 3 points.
Toms missed the green, hit a poor pitch shot and a poor chip and failed to make a 20-foot putt. Ames had a sidehill lie in a greenside bunker, blasted to the safe part of the green but then three-putted from 35 feet.
Moments later, Duval birdied the 492-yard, par-5 17th, two-putting from 25 feet to take the lead with 44 points, while Toms had 43 and Ames 41.
But Toms and Ames, playing in the same pairing, both birdied No. 17, worth 2 points each.
Toms got more good advice from his caddie at 17.
Toms' second shot went over the green, but Gneiser advised him to play the downhill chip with his 3-wood. He put his ball 4 feet from the cup and made the birdie putt.
"I didn't think I had any chance of making birdie from there," Toms said. "I had pulled out a wedge, but Scott suggested the fairway wood. It came out perfect."
Punctuating his victory, Toms made an 18-foot birdie putt on 18.
The format, which rewards aggressive play, awards 8 points for a double eagle, 5 points for eagle, 2 points for birdie, zero for par, minus-1 for bogey and minus-3 for double bogey or worse. Unlike the formative years of this tournament, when golfers started from zero each day, all scores were cumulative for four rounds.
The field, cut to the low 75 players for Saturday, was cut again to the low 36 players for Sunday's final round at 7,559-yard Castle Pines Golf Club.
Toms' only other victory in seven full seasons on the PGA Tour came in the 1997 Quad Cities Classic. He ranked among the top 50 on the PGA Tour's money list the last two seasons, and with a $468,000 paycheck on Sunday climbed into the top 30.
"I had a nice day and picked up some points just not enough," Duval said. "I thought I needed to make a 3 on 17, most certainly."
Duval reached the 17th in two, but two-putted from 25 feet.
"I let go of a couple at the end," said Ames, who has won twice on the PGA European Tour. "But I'm happy with my performance."
Toms held a 3-point lead over Duval and Ames entering Sunday.
Toms birdied the par-5 first hole, but Ames birdied his first three holes to take a 42-41 lead. Duval had two early birdies to get to 40.
Ames and Toms both birdied Nos. 7 and 8, and they made the turn with Ames holding a 45-44 lead.
When Ames bogeyed 10 after driving into deep rough and having to lay up short of the green, they were tied again.
Toms took a 46-44 lead with a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-5 14th.
Duval got to 42 with a birdie on the par-5 eighth, getting a break when his second shot hit a tree and kicked back into the fairway. But, suddenly battling a balky putter, he had three-putt bogeys at Nos. 9 and 11, then missed an 8-footer for birdie at No. 12.
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