USA GOLF off to solid start in 2020 Tokyo Olympics
by USA Golf
Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan - USA GOLF had a successful day one at the Olympics with all four players carding rounds of par or better. Kasumigaseki Country Club yielded fertile scoring conditions, in part due to more than three inches of rain that fell overnight Wednesday.
Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele led the way for Team USA, each carding an opening-round 68 (-3). Reed, who arrived in Japan less than 24 hours prior to teeing off in round one, was bogey-free until a late stumble at the 17th hole. Schauffele led Team USA with five birdies on the day but suffered two back-nine bogeys on the closing stretch. Reed and Schauffele are tied for 12th.
“It was hot, sweaty. 3-under is okay score, it seems,” Schauffele said. “…a few things to clean up and Sepp put a nice number up there for us to chase.”
Collin Morikawa turned in three birdies and one bogey on his way to his opening round 69 and currently sits in a tie for 20th position. Justin Thomas had a unique round, carding 18 consecutive pars for a round of 71. Asked to describe the first round of his Olympic experience in one word or less, Thomas aptly responded with “Par.”
“Once you tee it up and you're out there the whole experience thing and being excited to be here goes out the window,” Thomas said. “It’s time to compete once that tee goes in the ground and that first tee shot's in the air, then it's not just about it's cool to be here anymore, it's about trying to go win a golf tournament.”
Austria’s Sepp Straka set the pace early, carding a course record 63 (-8) en route to taking a two-shot lead over Jazz Janewattananond (Thailand), who turned in a 64 (-7). Thomas Pieters (Belgium) and Carlos Ortiz are tied for third with a pair of 65s.
Morikawa and Reed, along with the rest of field in the later groups, were pulled off the course at 1:55 p.m. local time due to inclement weather and lightning in the area. Play resumed at 4:15 p.m. Japan time, with both players restarting on the 14th hole.
Second-round play at KCC gets underway Friday at 7:30 a.m. local time. Full scores can be found at https://www.igfgolf.org/olympic-mens-leaderboard.