The men’s division of the Olympic Golf competition began play on Thursday in Saitama, Japan. The most well-known athletes in the field were nowhere to be seen on the scoreboard.
Collin Morikawa was the early favourite to win the competition. Morikawa was made the betting favourite after a strong performance in the Open Championship, when he won the Claret Jug.
Olympic Golf: Big Names Struggle in First Round in Japan
The third-ranked golfer in the world, though, had a difficult day on Thursday, shooting a 2-under par 69 to fall six shots behind.
The fourth-ranked golfer in the world, Justin Thomas, is also not in the lead after 18 holes.
Thomas, a member of the American team, had outstanding consistency on Thursday by finishing his round with 18 pars. Eight shots are behind him.
Morikawa and Thomas performed somewhat worse than Xander Schauffele, the fifth-ranked player in the world. Schauffele is five strokes back after shooting a 3-under 68.
As a result, none of the three players in this week’s field who are ranked among the Top 10 in the world are closer to the lead than five shots.
Canada’s Henderson, Sharp Struggle in 1st Round of Tokyo Olympic Golf
Wednesday’s opening round of the Olympic women’s golf competition in Japan at the Kasumigaseki Country Club was disappointing for Canadians Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp.
Henderson, a resident of Smiths Falls, Ontario, tied for 47th place with a 3-over 74. After the opening nine holes, the 23-year-old was one under after making a birdie on hole 5.
Henderson started to have trouble off the tee on the back nine, and his tee shot into the bunker on hole 11 led to a bogey.
After making bogeys on holes 15, 17, and 18, she recovered and is now eight strokes behind Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom.
Big Names Set for Men’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Golf Event
The Olympic competition, which begins in a month, will feature McIlroy, Rahm, DeChambeau, and Matsuyama.
John Rahm, the US Open champion, has had a busy few days. He became the first player born in Spain to win the US Open on Sunday in addition to winning his first major.
Today (Tuesday, June 22) has been designated as one of the 60 players who will compete in the men’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic golf competition, which gets underway on Thursday, July 29.
Rory McIlroy of Ireland, Bryson DeChambeau, a powerful hitter, and MATSUYAMA Hideki, the first-ever winner of the Masters in Japan, are also on the list.
Along with Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood of Great Britain, who won the 2018 Ryder Cup for Europe.
At the windy Kasumigaseki Country Club on Thursday, the top guns in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics golf field struggled to perform, but home favourite Hideki Matsuyama kept himself in contention.
The current Masters winner, who recently overcame Covid-19, shot a two-under-par 69 to finish 20th out of 60 players, six shots back.
“This could be my first and only opportunity to compete in the Olympics in my own nation. I’m hoping to put together a better round tomorrow,” Matsuyama added.