John Cook shot his second straight 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Russ Cochran in the inaugural Montreal Championship on Saturday.
The 52-year-old Cook, a four-time winner on the Champions Tour after winning 11 times on the PGA Tour, eagled the par-5 seventh hole and had four birdies in his bogey-free round at Fontainebleu Golf Club. Cochran followed his opening 65 with a 68.
“If we get wind, it’ll be a tough test, if we don’t, it will be a shootout,” Cook said. “‘I might be leading, but (Sunday) is the telling day. I won’t worry about anything until the back nine. I only missed two greens this week. I’m hitting really quality shots and if I keep doing that, I’ll give myself a chance.”
Fred Couples (66) was three strokes back at 9 under along with Corey Pavin (67), Craig Stadler (65), D.A. Weibring (63), David Frost (68), Larry Mize (68), Peter Senior (68) and James Mason (69). Weibring broke the course record.
“Whoever has the hottest rounds usually wins, but in this case there will be a few hot rounds,” Couples said. “I may have to shoot 6 under or 7 under again, maybe more.”
Tom Wargo, the 67-year-old player who shot a 65 on Friday to match Cochran atop the leaderboard, was 8 under after a 71. Mark Calcavecchia (66), Loren Roberts (66), Tom Lehman (68), Jay Haas (70) David Peoples (68) and Jay Don Blake (70) also were 8 under.
An estimated 20,000 fans turned out Saturday, with the biggest gallery following Couples, a three-time winner this year in his first season on the 50-and-over tour.
“This is a phenomenal event, as good or better than any of our big tournaments,” said Couples, who eagled the 515-yard, par-5 seventh for the second straight day. “It’s fun to play in front of a lot of people.”