Road To The Olympic Games

Golf

Graham DeLaet makes strong start in golf's Olympic comeback

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.

Canadian notches 6 birdies in impressive opening round

Graham DeLaet of Canada looks at his putt on the first hole during the first round of the men's Olympic golf competition. (REUTERS/Andrew Boyers)

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.

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.

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

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