Golf: Fraser makes most of golden Rio opportunity

Thu Aug 11, 2016 4:52pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Australia's Marcus Fraser made the most of a golden opportunity taking a three shot first round lead as golf made a subdued return to the Olympics after 112 years on Thursday with the sport's biggest names and fans staying away.

There were tears and fireworks during some superb golf at the Gil Hanse designed course carved into the Marapendi Nature Reserve.

The only thing missing were spectators with half the 12,000 tickets for the opening round going unsold and only 3,100 passing through the turnstiles.

Adilson da Silva, the only Brazilian in the field, was given the honor of striking the opening tee shot, receiving a smattering of applause from the sparse early morning crowd. He later broke down in tears recalling how growing up he made clubs out of tree branches.

While da Silva provided the emotional moment of the day, Britain's Justin Rose delivered the fireworks, carding the first ever hole-in-one in Olympic competition when he aced the par-three 191-yard fourth hole.

The man of the moment, however, was Fraser who only found his way onto the Australian team when world number one Jason Day, 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, Marc Leishman and Matt Jones all declined Olympic selection.

The 38-year-old journeyman took full advantage of his good fortune mixing nine birdies with a single bogey for an Olympic course record eight-under 63.

"Very rarely do you get to represent your country," said Fraser, who plays primarily on the European Tour. "I feel very fortunate to be in this position.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Golf - Preliminary - Men's Individual Stroke Play - Olympic Golf Course - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 11/08/2016. -  Marcus Fraser (AUS) of Australia hits a tee shot on the third hole during the first round of the men's Olympic golf compeititon. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers