Lehman big on la Belle Province

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:49 PM ET

BLAINVILLE, Que. -- Sounds like you wouldn't have to twist American Tom Lehman's arm to have him raise a glass on Canada Day.

In fact, he toasted the country a few hours early in explaining his fondness of the site at which the Montreal Open is held. "To me, it has a feeling a little bit of Europe," Lehman said of Blainville, which is just on the outskirts of Montreal. "Even though we are in Canada, you know you are not in Toronto. You go to Toronto, you feel like you could be maybe in Chicago. But here, there's no question that you're somewhere outside of the United States ... so that gives (the tournament) an added element, and I like it. I think all the players like it. There's a different culture here ...

"The feeling of 'Thank you for being here' is really pervasive," said Lehman, the 1996 British Open champion. "The fact that you can't read the street signs and you can't read the menus and stuff like that all adds an element of charm to this tournament."

Not that Lehman will be doing a lot of driving or dining out while he's here. He's rented a house near the course for the weekend.

"I like to be close," he said, before it was mentioned to him that Friday is Canada Day. "Yeah, July 1 should be a big day. Does that mean we can take the day off and sit at the range and drink beer?"

FROM THE FRINGE

Just three Canadians are in the tournament, and they're going out in the same group, off No. 10, at 11:49 a.m. Friday. They are Jim Rutledge (Victoria, B.C.), Daniel Talbot (St-Basile, Que.) and Yvan Beauchemin (Trois-Rivieres, Que.). Rutledge was the top Canadian last year, when he finished tied for 38th at 6-under ... Five of the first 12 events this season have needed extra holes to decide a winner ... Nick Price and Tom Watson, who are second and third behind Lehman in the Charles Schwab Cup, are absent from the event.


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