2016 Olympic Golf: Thursday's Winners & Losers

Who were the winners and losers on Day 1 of golf's return to the Summer Games? Let's take a look with our daily roundup of the 2016 Olympic golf competition.


Winner -- Marcus Fraser

Winner -- Marcus Fraser
The Australian introduced himself to the world with an opening 63, which was three shots better than his closest competitors. After winning the Maybank Championship -- his third European Tour title -- earlier this year, Fraser moved into the top 60 of the Official World Golf Ranking. But recent struggles have him down to No. 90. With fellow Aussies Jason Day, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Matt Jones deciding not to make the trip to Rio though, Fraser jumped at the opportunity. So far, so good. “I’m glad they decided not to come,” Fraser said. “I’m really glad to be here.” -- Alex Myers

Loser -- Rickie Fowler

Loser -- Rickie Fowler
To his credit, Fowler has been committed to the Olympic experience, attending the opening ceremonies, rooting for his fellow American athletes and carrying himself in a professional matter for the red, white and blue. Unfortunately, the current state of Fowler's game is not worthy of Rio. The 27-year-old posted a four-over 75 on Thursday, a score that beat just two players in the Olympic field. It's not a total surprise, as Fowler has struggled since the Masters. Still, for a player who began the season as one of the faces of golf, the recent rough stretch is troubling. -- Joel Beall

Winner -- Henrik Stenson

Winner -- Henrik Stenson
The highest-ranked player in the tournament lived up to his billing on Day 1 with a five-under 66 in blustery afternoon conditions. In other words, it was more of the same for Stenson, who followed up his record-breaking win at the British Open at Royal Troon by contending at the PGA Championship at Baltusrol. Stenson and Tiger Woods are the only two golfers to win a major, a Players and a FedEx Cup. But the Swede can make his trophy case even more unique by adding a gold medal. -- AM

Loser -- International Commentary

NBC had its usual lineup on the Golf Channel, giving golf fans the presentation they've come to expect from a prestigious golf event. International viewers were not as fortunate, stuck with broadcasters who didn't know a golf club from a hockey stick. Open champion Paul Lawrie took to Twitter, complaining that "Commentators at Olympic golf are the worst I've ever heard." We thought this was hyperbole, until our own John Huggan chipped in, stating "Commentator: 'Danny Willett just drove the green in two.' I am not making this up." -- JB

Winner -- Justin Rose

It may only be Thursday, but Rose already put his name in the record books. He recorded the first ace in the history of Olympic golf, finding the bottom of the cup at the par-3 fourth hole. This would bode well for the rest of his round, as he recorded another four birdies throughout the day. Rose finished at four-under 67, tied for third and four strokes back of the lead. -- Pat Kiernan
The only country to have four representatives only had one of its players, Matt Kuchar with a 69, shoot under par in the first round. The rest of the squad –- Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed –- combined to shoot a disastrous seven over. There have been a lot of complaints about the Olympic format; mainly, that it needs to include a team aspect. For one day, at least, the underperforming Americans are probably glad it doesn't. -- AM

Winner -- Graham DeLaet

Prior to today, DeLaet was mainly known in golf circles for his biblical beard. The Canadian proved he's more than just whiskers with a five-under 66 on Thursday, second behind Marcus Fraser for best in Round 1. The number itself is impressive. Upon realization that the 34-year-old's game was in such dire straits -- specifically, he suffered from chipping yips -- that he had to take a sabbatical from the game earlier this year, the 66 is a borderline marvel. -- JB

Loser -- Anirban Lahiri

Entering the Olympics aside S.S.P. Chawrasia as the two golfers representing India, Lahiri has been through a rough stretch of golf in recent months. He missed the cut at the PGA Championship and finished tied for 68th at the British Open. Lahiri, the reigning Asian Tour winner, turned in a three-over 74 in the first round of golf's return to the Olympics, tied for 50th. He is 11 strokes off the lead, with Chawrasia not doing much better at even par. -- PK

Winner -- Sergio Garcia

Garcia, one of the favorites in Rio, began his tournament in uneven fashion, with four birdies and four bogeys through 17 holes. But thanks to an eagle on the 18th, Garcia finished in the red at two under par. This pulled him into a tie for 11th, six strokes off the lead and remaining in shouting distance of competing for the gold medal. -- PK

Winner -- Adilson da Silva

The lone Brazilian in the field shot a one-over 72 on Thursday, but his score was secondary to the story. To da Silva, who hit the first tee shot of the tournament, representing his homeland was the true achievement. An emotional da Silva stated after his round his participation in Rio is bigger than himself, that he hopes it spurs new life into the country's golf scene. "So many people are watching it," he said through tears. "It’s a big deal for us here. It’s a big start for us. I think that’s going to be a huge deal for the golf here.” -- JB