Graham DeLaet makes strong start in golf's Olympic comeback
Canadian notches 6 birdies in impressive opening round
By Kevin McAnena, CBC Sports
Canada's Graham DeLaet made a strong start on the first day of golf's return to the Olympics with a five-under par round of 66 in Rio.
That was enough to see him go into day two tied for second place with Swede Henrik Stenson, three shots behind the leader Australia's Marcus Fraser.
- WATCH: Graham DeLaet highlights from first round of the Olympic golf tournament
- SCHEDULE & RESULTS: Golf at Rio 2016
His Canadian teammate David Hearn struggled though, finishing on 2 over par.
Canada is technically the defending champion – Canadian George Lyon won the gold medal when golf was last in the Olympic Games back in 1904.
At this early stage DeLaet is well placed to emulate his success, having carded six birdies and just one bogey on his first round.
One of the first to tee off, the Saskatchewan native made four birdies on the front nine to make the early pace, and finished with another on the 18th to keep himself near the top of the leaderboard Thursday morning.
Not since 1904 has golf been in Olympics when a <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CAN?src=hash">#CAN</a> won. Great start for <a href="https://twitter.com/GrahamDeLaet">@GrahamDeLaet</a> today at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/rio2016?src=hash">#rio2016</a>. -5 in 2nd <a href="https://t.co/h3kjv5rxlu">pic.twitter.com/h3kjv5rxlu</a>—@PremierBradWall
The 34-year-old admitted to having nerves beforehand. "The last time I can think of really being nervous was probably the (2013) Presidents Cup," he said. "There has been a couple times if you're in final groups. But not the first tee shot of the week. So it was definitely a different feeling.
"You're out there and you're playing for more than just yourself. You're playing for the flag and it's a pretty cool feeling."
Hearn, from Brantford, Ont., struggled on the front nine before rebounding late in his round. He took a six on the par-4 second hole and was 39 at the turn before picking up birdies on three of his last four holes.
"It's kind of my track record, I get a little better every day," Hearn said. "So hopefully that was my bad day and I can just build on that each and every day."
Fraser was the star of the show in the first round, as he holed nine birdies to put himself clear in the lead. Justin Rose's hole in one on the 189-yard 4th was the most memorable moment though – the first in Olympic golf's history.
This year's Masters winner Danny Willett failed to set the world alight as he finished on even par, while three-time major winner Pádraig Harrington finished on 1 under. Matt Kuchar was the best of the Americans on 2 under, as Bubba Watson (+2) and Rickie Fowler (+4) both underperformed.
With files from The Canadian Press