The return of golf to the Olympics produced an early surprise leader, Australia’s Marcus Fraser, who shot an eight-under par 63 on the Olympic Golf Course in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
Fraser, a 38-year-old European Tour journeyman, birdied five of the first six holes and made nine birdies total in opening a three-stroke lead over Sweden's Henrik Stenson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 5, and Canadian Graham DeLaet, with 66s.
“It was a combination of everything,” Fraser said. “I felt like I played great. The putter was definitely hot today. I made a few long ones. It all added up to 63, which is always nice.”
Fraser entered play 90th in the World Ranking. Earlier this year, he won the Maybank Championship Malaysia, his third European Tour victory in a career that began in 2003.
England’s Justin Rose shot a four-under par 67 that included a hole-in-one at the 189-yard fourth hole.
Matt Kuchar, meanwhile, was low American with a two-under par 69. Patrick Reed shot a one-over par 72, Bubba Watson a two-over par 73 and Rickie Fowler a four-over 75 and is tied for 56th in a 60-player field.