SAINTE-JULIE, Quebec — Russ Cochran shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Champions Tour’s Montreal Championship.
The 53-year-old left-hander, a three-time winner on the 50-and-over tour, had seven birdies and one bogey on Vallee du Richelieu Golf Club’s Vercheres Course.
He birdied each of the four par-5 holes on the 6,950-yard course.
“I think that’s a big deal, but you know the fairways are hard to hit on the par 5s,” Cochran said. “You’ve got crosswinds and you’ve got to take them diagonally over bunkers and then hit the fairway. So you’ve got to shape the ball right.”
Michael Allen, the tour leader with two victories and earnings of $1,071,282, was tied for second with Jerry Pate, Canadian Rod Spittle and 2010 champion Larry Mize.
The tournament is in its first year at Vallee du Richelieu after two years at Fontainebleau in Blainville.
“I heard nothing but good things about it, and I think people see the possibilities in the course setup,” Cochran said. “I think there could be a ton of people involved in the finish of the golf tournament.”
John Cook, the winner last year at Fontainebleu, opened with a 71.
Canadian Claude Tremblay had the first hole-in-one in the tournament’s history. The Blainville player used a 19-degree hybrid for the ace on the 224-yard 13th hole.
“I have mixed emotions,” said Tremblay, who finished with a 77. “I’m happy about my hole-in-one, but I’m really disappointed in my round. I expected to do much better than that.”