John Cook and John Huston shot 9-under 63s on Friday to match the course record and share the first-round lead in the Montreal Championship, the Champions Tour’s lone Canadian event.
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Cook, a two-time winner this year, and Huston, coming off his first victory on the 50-and-over tour, each had 10 birdies and a bogey on the Fontainebleau Golf Club course on Canada Day. They matched the course mark set last year by D.A. Weibring in the inaugural tournament.
Cook had a chance to break the course record, but his eight-foot birdie putt on 18 skirted the left side of the cup.
”It broke a little more than I thought,” Cook said. ”I thought that it was going to break pretty good to the left, but I didn’t think that it was going to swing quite that much and it swung across the hole. I hit it perfect speed so I hit a nice putt.”
Cook couldn’t recall how many course records he currently holds, acknowledging that ”I do own a few.”
”They’re always good, especially at tournaments,” Cook said. ”That’s what you like is to shoot or break course records in tournaments, that’s nice.”
Huston, the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open winner Sunday in New York, birdied the final five holes.
”Momentum is everything in golf and it’s definitely a great feeling to win last week and come out here and get off to a good start,” said Huston, playing in just his fourth Champions Tour event.
Defending champion Larry Mize was two strokes back along with Joey Sindelar, Tommy Armour III, Jeff Sluman, Jay Haas, Dan Forsman and Lu Chien-soon.
”You can’t get too far behind on the first day or you’ll have problems,” Sindelar said. ”Red numbers here isn’t even enough.”
Fulton Allem, R.W. Eaks, Vicente Fernandez, Corey Pavin and Hal Sutton had 66s, and Tom Lehman, a three-time winner this year, topped a group at 67. Sixty-nine players broke par on the first day, matching a Champions Tour record set three weeks ago at the Greater Hickory Classic.
”Today was a perfect day,” said Cook, second behind Mize last year. ”I mean there was barely any wind, the greens were soft, they were beautiful speed. It was really ripe for some good scoring and there was some good scoring out there.”