Aucklander Ryan Fox safely negotiated his first round of the Olympic golf tournament with a one under par 70 and was happy to get back in the clubhouse just before lightning interrupted play for more than an hour.
He finished the first round tied for 31st in the field of 60. The leader was Austrian Sepp Straka who had eight birdies in his 63. He was one shot clear of Thai Jazz Janewattananond.
Fox, 34, played in the golf at the Rio Olympics, where he finished 39th.
Though he turned pro in 2012, he has gained considerable experience in big-time golf since Rio and looked calm and composed today.
He drove big – average length just under 300 metres – but missed half his fairways. However, his approaches were excellent and in the end he bogeyed only one hole, the par 4 13th and birdied two.
His first birdie came at the par 4 sixth when he played a superb approach. He narrowly missed birdie putts at 10 and 11 and had a real adventure on the par 5 14th, a whopper of a hole at 572 metres. Putting for a birdie he missed his 6-metre attempt by nearly the same distance, but then sank the return putt.
Fox birdied the par 4 17th to get back under par.
Though there have been several high-profile defections from the men’s golf – some owing to Covid - there are still plenty of big names in the field, including Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed, who shot 68s, Hideki Matsuyama, the home town favourite, Rory McElroy and Collin Morikawa, who won the recent British Open, all 69, and Justin Thomas, 71.Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games