Pieters one back, dreaming of Olympic medal


RIO DE JANEIRO – This week, clearly, is different.

Thomas Pieters shot a second-round 66 Friday at the Olympics to pull within a shot of Australian leader Marcus Fraser. That’s not different. Pieters, from Belgium, has been playing well for most of the year.

But preparation, it’s been different.

“Going to bed late because you’re watching other sports,” he said. “You’re having dinner with a thousand of the best athletes in the world; that’s not every week I would say. Yeah, that’s what’s special about it.”

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Pieters, 24, birdied the first three holes at the Olympic Golf Course and birdied the final three to vault quickly into contention. Open champion Henrik Stenson is a shot behind.

We’re halfway through, but it’s time to start thinking about medals. Pieters, in fact, can’t stop thinking about it.

“If you don’t dream about it, you’re never going to achieve it I think,” he said. “I am thinking about it, yeah, but you kind of put that beside you when you’re playing and try to shoot the lowest you can.”

The lowest score? Nothing different about that.