The Champions Tour returns to Canada for the first time since 2002 this week. The Montreal Championship presented by Desjardins will be held at the Club de golf Le Fountainebleau. The Two-Tour Celebrity Face-Off, the first of several planned events to kick-off the inaugural Montreal Championship, took place on Tuesday.
This unique event featured six players -- two from the Champions Tour, two from the Canadian Tour and two celebrities -- playing a six-hole scramble at Club de golf Fountainbleau. Champions Tour stars Fred Funk and Tommy Armour III joined hockey legends Vincent Lecavalier and Stephane Quintal, along with Stewart Anderson and Yohann Benson from the Canadian Tour. The players began on hole No. 10 before heading to the 14th tee to play the final five holes.
The team of Armour, Lecavalier and Benson were victorious when both teams tied at 5 under and were forced to a chip-off from 90 feet away. Benson's downhill chip to three feet sealed the deal.
"I'm from here," said Benson, who posted three top-10s on the Canadian Tour last year. "So anytime I get to play in my hometown is a bonus for me. I was really excited to meet Fred Funk because his caddy, Mark Long, caddied for me at the 2008 U.S. Open. It was a great event and $25,000 for the kids is great."
A $25,000 donation was made to the Montreal Birdies for Charity campaign on behalf of the host organization Synchro Sports, the Canadian Tour and the Champions Tour. All proceeds will benefit the Ste-Justine Children's Hospital Foundation and Golf Quebec junior golf programs.
Funk, winner of five Champions Tour titles and currently 17th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, said, "That's the neat thing about the Champions Tour, the PGA TOUR and golf in general. We get to give back and raise so much money."
"It was nice to win this early in the week," joked Armour, currently 8th on the Charles Schwab Cup standings. "It's great for golf to do things like this. The Canadian Tour wins, the Champions Tour wins and the kids win."
Lecavalier, who plays for the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning, was happy to be back in Montreal. "They love their golf here," he said. "I think this will be a great event."
Funk had not previously met Lecavalier or Quintal, who retired in 2004 after playing for multiple NHL teams.
"They're big," said Funk, when asked of his first impression of the two hockey stars.
Just like hockey in Canada.
On Canada Day (July 1), the Champions Tour players and caddies will honor the history of the Montreal Canadiens and the tremendous impact they have had on the game of hockey. Seventeen different caddies will wear authentic Montreal Canadiens jerseys during the pro-am round. Each jersey honors one of the 17 players that have had their number retired by the NHL's most-storied team. Each jersey will be signed for a future auction with proceeds going to charity.