Rio de Janeiro, Aug 12 (IANS) India’s golfers Anirban Lahiri and S.S.P. Chawrasia scored three-over 74 and 71 respectively in the opening round of the Olympic Games here on Thursday.
World No.69 Lahiri got off to a poor start as he bogeyed the first hole. He continued to struggle by making bogeys on the sixth, eighth, 11th and 12th holes. He somehow recovered to make two birdies on 15th and 18th holes to bag a 74.
His teammate, Chawrasia, however got off to a strong start, making birdies on the second and fifth. However, two bogeys on the seventh and 10th followed, disrupting the good work done in the beginning.
He fought back to bag a birdie the 11th hole but he bogeyed the 12th and the 13th holes to be one one-over. He made a birdie on the 18th hole to get a par-71.
While Chawrasia was at the tied 27th spot at the end of the opening round, Lahrir was languishing at the joint 50th position with six other golfers.
Meanwhile, Marcus Fraser of Australia took the top spot with a stunning 63 while Canadian Graham Delaet and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson shared the second rung with identical scores of 66.
Justin Rose (67) of Britain made the first hole-in-one in Olympic history on an eventful opening morning before taking the joint fourth spot alongwith Thomas Pieters of Belgium, Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, Germany’s Alex Cejka and Rafael Cabrera of Spain.
World No.90 Fraser was at the Games due to withdrawals from some of his fellow Australians and he grabbed his opportunity with both hands to set the clubhouse target at eight-under 63.
Fraser was nearing the end of his round as Rose prepared to play the fourth and the Briton holed his tee shot to spark wild celebrations at the Olympic Golf Course.
Golf was making its return to the Olympics for the first time in 112 years and local favourite Adilson da Silva was handed the honour of hitting the opening tee shot.
It was playing partner Graham DeLaet who set the early pace, however, the Canadian trying to defend the title for his country after George Lyon won gold in 1904 in St Louis.
The 34-year-old made six birdies with a single dropped shot in his 66 to set the early clubhouse target but he was soon passed by Maybank Championship Malaysia winner Fraser.
He took advantage of the par five first and, after a bogey on the next, went on a stunning run of four birdies.
An approach to four feet and excellent tee-shot set up gains on the third and fourth before the putter got hot as the three-time European Tour winner holed from 23 and 25 feet on the fifth and sixth.
A beautiful approach to the par five tenth set up another birdie and a further gain on the 13th had Fraser six under. The final three holes all offer up birdie opportunities and the 38 year old capitalised on the 16th and 18th to open up a three-shot gap to DeLaet.
Thomas Pieters was then at four-under after he used his distance off the tee to his advantage in an opening 67.
The Belgian birdied the par five first, tenth, and last while also driving the par four third for another gain. He also made birdies on the sixth and ninth with dropped shots on the eighth and 14th.