RIO DE JANEIRO – Marcus Fraser is the sixth-highest ranked Australian in the world. He is also the highest name on the Olympic leaderboard.
The 38-year-old was the biggest benefactor of all the top players dropping out of the Olympics. When Adam Scott, Jason Day, Marc Leishman and Matt Jones all pulled out for Australia it paved the way for Fraser.
On Thursday, Fraser made nine birdies and a bogey to shoot 8-under 63 at the Olympic Golf Course.
“We said before walking here, ‘at the moment, you’ve got the Olympic record,’” Fraser said. “That’s pretty cool. So hopefully that lasts all week.”
Fraser jumped out to a hot start before afternoon winds picked up and was 4 under par after six holes, with five birdies in that stretch. Hovering near the top of the leaderboard, he birdied three of the last six holes to separate himself from his closest pursuers.
To say this round was unexpected would be an understatement because Fraser hasn’t played well most of the year. He did win a European Tour event in February in Malaysia, but his only other top-10 finish since then was a second-place tie at a Japan Tour event in April. Fraser tied for 73rd at the PGA Championship and missed the cut at The Open, his last two starts.
“I think this is probably one of the best round of golf I’ve ever played for sure,” he said. “I think given the circumstances. I was quite edgy and a bit jump on the first tee because it’s such a big occasion to be here at the Olympics. To manage that and go on to play the way I did is really pleasing and a big confidence boost.”