Aug 11th, 2016
Marcus Fraser leads the Olympic golf
But Stenson lurks
Words: John Dean Photography: Getty Images
|-8 M Fraser (Aus); -5 G Delaet (Can), H Stenson (Swe); -4 T Pieters (Bel), G Bourdy (Fra), A Cejka (Ger), J Rose (Gbr)|
|Selected others:-2 M Kuchar (Usa), M Kaymer (Ger), S Garcia (Esp); -1 P Harrington (Irl); level D Willett (Gbr), +2 B Watson (Usa)|
Australia’s Marcus Fraser was the surprise leader on day one of the Olympic golf, when he shot an eight under 63. He only made the team because Adam Scott and Jason Day both opted out, and he has taken full advantage of the opportunity presented to him.
He shot nine birdies, and dropped just one single shot.
"I played really steady all day, gave myself chances all day long, managed to make a few long putts, holed out really well," he said. "It felt like I did everything really well today."
Players teeing off in the morning, including Fraser, experienced calm conditions and he took full advantage. It was much tougher in the afternoon, with the wind blowing up to 20 mph.
If the weather follows the same pattern tomorrow, this should even things out.
Canadian Graham DeLaet shot a tidy 5-under 66, and he’s well up for it. “This is something I really never anticipated as a golfer, so it’s an extra bonus," DeLaet said on the Golf Channel. "There’s a little bit of extra pride, and it’s really the first time I’ve been nervous on the first tee in a while. There was just something a little extra special."
Given that the last Olympic gold medal winner was a Canadian, and DeLaet was therefore given the honour of being in the first group, he must have been properly motivated, and it clearly showed in his game.
But let’s not forget an in form Henrik Stenson. He was out in the winds that troubled the afternoon groups, but this did not stop him shooting a five under 66. If it is calm tomorrow morning, he could really rip it up.
Justin Rose had the first ever hole in one in Olympics on the 191 yard Par three fourth, and went on to shoot a four under 67. He too was one of the afternoon players, so it’s going to be interesting to see how he fares in tomorrow morning’s conditions.
Rose is joined at four under by Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Gregory Bourdy, Alex Cejka and Thomas Pieters.
GolfPunk Nicolas Colsaerts shot a 3-under 68 with three birdies in his last four holes. He had a slow start, but we know both he and Thomas Pieters are totally fired up about representing Belgium, and he translated that passion into a fine finish.
The other big story of the opening day was the fact that the Americans did not fare well at all. Matt Kuchar shot a two under 69, but Patrick Reed could only post a plus one 72, whilst Bubba was two over with a 73. And as for Rickie, his four over 75 must have been a huge disappointment for him.
That said, there is no cut in this competition, and he was out in the afternoon’s winds. So the fat lady has not sung yet, although she may well be warming up when it comes to Rickie.