MIDDLETON — The movie "Happy Gilmore" is a favorite among hockey fans, especially those of the Boston Bruins, like Adam Sandler's title character, who wears a Bruins jersey throughout the film.
What better way, then, to raise money for the Boston Bruins Foundation than with a Swing Like Happy Gilmore Long Drive Contest?
Golf Country in Middleton hosted the charity event yesterday with Boston hockey stars Tim Thomas and Milan Lucic on hand to serve as celebrity judges.
For a $10 donation to the Boston Bruins Foundation, contestants got three chances to hit a golf ball as far as they could in Happy Gilmore's signature style — running toward the tee and swinging for the fences.
"I saw this advertised on the Bruins Web site last week, and I actually came up here to practice last night," said Matt Burnett of Peabody, a 17-year-old St. John's Prep student who got Lucic's autograph on his freshly minted No. 17 Boston jersey.
Bobby Noyes' drive of 210 yards stood atop the leader board manned by Thomas and Lucic for most of the two-hour event. Peabody's Marc Millard, though, blasted a shot 230 yards at the tail end of the competition to come away the winner.
Millard, a 2008 Peabody High graduate who was sporting a Tanners baseball cap, won two tickets to next week's sixth annual Boston Bruins Foundation Golf Tournament and dinner, as well as an autographed Lucic jersey.
All of the 1,200 golf balls provided by Golf Country for the event were sold, meaning the competition raised in the neighborhood of $4,000 for the Bruins Foundation, which assists charitable organizations that aid children throughout New England.
"We're very happy with the turnout," Golf Country owner Jon Nekoroski said. "The Bruins contacted us about this two weeks ago, and things really spiraled from there."
Fans of all ages were welcome to participate. There was a separate division for golfers younger than 14, which was won by Wakefield native Nick Nice.
"We were watching 'Happy Gilmore' and my uncle said he read something about this, so we thought we'd try it," said Nick, a big Bruins fan who frequents the team's practices during the season.
Lucic, a fan favorite for his rough-and-tumble style of play, and Thomas, who won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goaltender last year, posed for photos with fans in addition to signing autographs.
"We're both pretty big Bruins fans, and we like to golf, too, so this seemed like fun," Peabody's Dave Burnett, 16, said of his and older brother Matt's interest in the benefit.
The younger Burnett's drive of 195 yards was ultimately the day's fourth longest.