Fraser leads golf’s return to Olympics with 63

Marcus Fraser of Australia celebrated golf’s return to the Olympic Games after a 112-year absence with an 8-under-par 63 to take a three-stroke lead over Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Graham DeLaet of Canada in the Men’s Tournament on the breezy Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro.

The 38-year-old Fraser, who has six victories in his career, birdied five of the first six holes with his lone bogey coming at No. 2, and then added four birdies on the back nine.

“63, wow,” said Fraser, who tied his low round as a pro. “It was a combination of everything. I played great from the first tee on and made some putts, so it all added up to a 63. I played solid all day, gave myself chances and made some long putts.

” … The overall experience of the Olympics has exceeded all of my expectations. That’s how great it’s been. It’s just awesome.”

Said Aussie Captain Ian Baker-Finch: “It played like at Australian Open. The wind was up and this looks like an Australian sandbelt course. … I just kept saying: ‘Nice shot, Marcus. Good going, Marcus. Keep it up, Marcus.'”

DeLaet, who took a break earlier this season because he had the yips with his short game, birdied four of six holes through No. 8 and added two more birdies on the back nine in his 66.

Stenson, who claimed his first major title last month in the Open Championship, birdied four of the last six holes on the back nine, and after his only bogey on the 13th hole, he added birdies on two of the last four holes to also post 66.

“I played a very solid round of golf,” said Stenson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 4 in the world. “The wind certainly made it interesting, but I hit a lot of good shots, made some puts and picked up a few birdies coming home.”

Justin Rose of Great Britain made the first hole in one in Olympic history from 191 yards on the fourth hole and shot 67 to tie for fourth with Gregory Bourdy of France, Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain, Alex Cjeka of Germany and Thomas Pieters of Belgium.

Byeong-Hun An of South Korea totaled 68 to tie for ninth with Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium.

Matt Kuchar led the American contingent with a 69 that left him in a tie for 11th with Sergio Garcia of Spain, Martin Kaymer of Germany, David Lingmerth of Sweden, Matteo Manassero of Italy and Cheng-Tsung of Taiwan.

The rest of the U.S. team struggled, as Patrick Reed shot 72, Bubba Watson wound up a 73 and Rickie Fowler came in at 75.


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