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Austria's Sepp Straka Leads Men's Golf Tournament after Round 1

Bay Area
Xander Schauffele
Xander Schauffele
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Round 1 of the men’s golf tournament is in the books.

After being delayed earlier Thursday morning due to lightning, the round ended out with none of the four Americans competing inside the top 10. The four Americans were the top four ranked golfers in the tournament entering Olympic play.

Austria’s Sepp Straka, who came into the Olympics ranked No. 40 out of the 60 competitors, holds the lead with a score of 63, good for 8-under par. He scored four birdies on both the front and back nine and did not shoot worse than par on any other hole.

Behind him is No. 33 ranked Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, who shot 7-under par with a 64 in the first round. His birdie on Hole 18 pulled him away from a tie for third, which is held by No. 28 Thomas Pieters of Belgium and No. 20 Carlos Ortiz of Mexico. Both ended the round 6-under par at 65.

Out of the Americans, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed had the best rounds, both shooting 3-under par. After a bogeyless first nine, Schauffele coughed up two bogeys on the back nine, one coming on the final hole of the round, to push his score to a 68. He currently sits tied for 12th.

Reed, the replacement for Bryson DeChambeau, was on pace to be near the top of the leaderboard with a -3 through the front nine, but two bogeys on the back, one coming on 17, caused him to come out even on the final nine holes and end the round 3-under par.

 

Collin Morikawa, fresh off a win in The Open Championship earlier this month, finished the first 18 holes of the tournament 2-under. He played par golf for 14 of the 18 holes, with three birdies and a bogey and is tied for 20th.

Speaking of par golf, Justin Thomas came out even in a first round where he did not score anything besides par on every hole. He sits tied for 41st.

The full schedule for the rest of the tournament is available here.

The U.S. men are trying to take gold for the first time in over a century.

DeChambeau, the No. 6 ranked men’s golfer in the world, is the highest-profile name missing from Team USA’s roster after testing positive for COVID-19. But with Reed — who won the Masters Tournament in 2018 — filling in for him, alongside Thomas, Morikawa and Schauffele, the U.S. roster boasts four of the top 12 golfers in the world.

The United States isn’t the only country whose team has been hit by the pandemic. Spain’s Jon Rahm, the world No. 1 and 2021 U.S. Open champion, was also knocked out of the tournament after a positive COVID-19 test. 

South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, the No. 8 ranked player, opted out of the Olympics, as have three of Great Britain’s top golfers, Tyrrell Hadley, Lee Westwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick. 

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