QUEBEC CITY – Chip Beck eagled his final hole for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke lead Friday after the first round of the Champions Tour’s Quebec Championship.
The 57-year-old Beck, winless on the 50-and-over tour, hit his 3-wood approach from 256 yards to a foot to set up the eagle on the par-5 ninth hole.
“It’s time, isn’t it? I’m ready,” Beck said about winning on the tour. “I’m 58 next week and you know what, I’m just going to play. I’m going to give it all I’ve got and enjoy whatever happens.”
On the par-5 18th, Beck hit a 3-wood second shot to 10 feet and two-putted for birdie.
“Thank goodness the course dried out today and the extra roll allowed me to reach both of those par 5s in two,” Beck said. “I managed to hit two of the best 3-wood shots of my life.”
The four-time PGA Tour winner also had six birdies and a bogey at La Tempete in the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event in the area since the 1956 Labatt Open at Royal Quebec.
“It’s a fun golf course with all the par 5s,” Beck said. “The course is playing great, the greens were really good and it’s amazing the transformation overnight with the smoothness of the greens and the dryness of the golf course, so the wind really helped us.”
Duffy Waldorf and Craig Thomas were tied for second. Thomas, a club professional at Metropolis in White Plains, New York, went through two stages of qualifying to get into the field.
“I’m extremely, extremely fortunate at the club that I work at,” Thomas said. “The members are very, very supportive and excited about both myself and my assistant, Colin Amaral, in our playing ability and our opportunities and the fact that we go out and represent the club. It couldn’t be a better situation for somebody like me. Without them I definitely couldn’t do it.”
Waldorf birdied four of the five par 5s.
“It was a good solid round,” Waldorf said. “I drove the ball really well, which helped. You kind of feel like you have to play the par 5s well out here and the four that I birdied I birdied fairly easily.”
Brad Faxon, Loren Roberts and P.H. Horgan III followed at 67. Esteban Toledo, the winner last year in the then-Montreal Championship at La Vallee du Richelieu, opened with a 68.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen had a 71 in his first Champions Tour round. He turned 50 last week.