After briefly losing his lead Friday, Australia’s Marcus Fraser birdied the 18th hole to go up by one through 36 holes in men’s golf. Here’s where things stand as we head into the weekend in Rio:
What it means: Up three to start the day, Fraser cruised along largely unchallenged after three birdies across his first 11 holes. But bogeys at Nos. 12 and 16 combined with the round of the day from Belgium’s Pieters cost Fraser his solo lead after 17 holes. From there, two solid shots and a lag putt for a closing birdie got him into the clubhouse in 2-under 69 and back up by one ahead of Moving Day in Rio. He’ll be chased this weekend by Pieters, a 24-year-old two-time European Tour winner, and Sweden’s Stenson, the reigning Champion Golfer of the Year who’s less than a month removed from his Open win. In addition, Rose, a 15-time PGA and European tour champion and the 2013 U.S. Open winner, is just four off the pace.
Round of the day: After an opening-round 72, New Zealand’s Danny Lee vaulted 28 spots up the board into a tie for sixth after a second-round 65. Just 1 under after his first nine, Lee fired a bogey-free 31 on the back with five birdies, including four in a row to end his day. He’s now 5 under for the championship and five back.
Best of the rest: Pieters got off to a hot start with birdies on each of his first three holes and parred his way to the turn to go out in 32. After another birdie at 10 and bogeys at 11 and 14, Pieters finished exactly as he started, circling 16, 17 and 18 to post 5-under 66.
Biggest disappointment: The United States is the only country in the men’s event with the maximum four representatives, but after 36 holes, not one of them is any closer than seven shots behind Fraser. The good news is that, unlike Thursday, all four Americans – Bubba Watson (67), Matt Kuchar (69), Patrick Reed (69), and Rickie Fowler (71) – posted even par or better, and three of the four – Kuchar (-3), Reed (-2), and Watson (-2) – are in red figures through two rounds. Fowler, unfortunately, sits tied for 50th at 4 over.
Shots of the day: Henrik Stenson poured in a 108-foot putt for par at the par-4 third and the cameras … missed it. Stenson hit his tee shot in the water left of the fairway and ripped a 3-wood onto the putting surface after a drop. As cameras focused on Thongchai Jaidee trying to replace his ball in the greenside bunker, Stenson went ahead and casually jarred his 36-yard, cross-green putt.
As for one a camera did catch, Watson got his round rolling with this hole-out for an eagle-2 at the par-4 third.
Quote of the day: “It’s the Olympics. I do remind myself that when I wake up just to stay patient and be happy about this. This is the best week of my life so far. I’m just trying to enjoy it on the course.” - Pieters