Rio 2016: Graham DeLaet, golfMark Blinch/COC
Mark Blinch/COC

DeLaet finds leaderboard on first day of Olympic golf tournament

Canada’s Graham DeLaet is off to a strong start at the first Olympic golf tournament in 112 years.

DeLaet shot a 66 in the first round, placing him at five-under par and into a tie for second place overall. He entered the clubhouse with the lead before being overtaken by Australia’s Marcus Fraser, who shot a 63 on Thursday in Rio.

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On a windy morning at Rio’s new Olympic Golf Course, DeLaet had six birdies and only one bogey.  The 34-year-old said that playing in the Olympic Games felt different than a normal PGA event.

« I haven’t been nervous like this on the first tee at a tour event in a really long time, » said DeLaet. « The last time I can think of really being nervous is probably the President’s Cup (in 2013).

« I didn’t really think about it that much until we walked off the first tee and all of us were talking about it. This is pretty cool, first time in over 100 years and we are leading the charge in the Olympics. »

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Rio 2016: Graham DeLaet, golf

Canadian Graham DeLaet tees off at the first round of the Rio 2016 golf event on August 11, 2016. (Mark Blinch/COC)

Golf is making its first Olympic Games appearance since St. Louis 1904. Canadian George Lyon is the defending Olympic golf champion, winning gold 112 years ago.

DeLaet was part of the first group of players to tee off at 7:30 a.m. local time, joining Brazilian Adilson da Silva and South Korea’s Byeong Hun An.

« You are out there and playing for more than just yourself, » said the Weyburn, Saskatchewan native. « You are playing for your flag and it’s a pretty cool feeling. »

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Rio 2016: David Hearn, golf

Canada’s David Hearn tees off in the first round of the Rio 2016 golf tournament on August 11, 2016. (Mark Blinch/COC)

Canada’s David Hearn, playing in a group with Mikko Ilonen of Finland and South African Jaco van Zyl, finished two over par with a score of 73.

The Rio 2016 men’s golf tournament continues on Friday morning with the second round. The event ends on Sunday.

Women’s golf, which will feature Canada’s Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp, begins on August 17.