Canadians Mackenzie Hughes and Corey Conners both finished Thursday’s first round of Olympic men’s golf with a two under 69 at the Kasumigaseki Country Club East Course near Tokyo.
Both players go into Friday’s second round in a tie for 20th, six shots behind Austria’s Sepp Straka, who fired a bogey free, eight under 63 to take a one shot lead.
Conners got his round in before a weather delay of over two hours, finishing his round with a birdie on 18.
“Nice to finish with a birdie, definitely a bright spot out there,” said Conners.
“I felt like I drove the ball really well, just didn’t give myself the opportunities for birdie that I would have liked with the irons. I was just a little bit off on some of those,” he added.
“I know I’m going to give myself lots of chances if I keep driving it the way I did today and looking forward to the rest of the week,” said Conners, admitting he was tentative on the greens that had softened in the hot, humid conditions.
“They were quite soft, so controlling the spin on some of the shorter clubs was challenging. There’s a lot of slopes on the greens, so if you land an approach shot into a slope, it’s going to come back and kind of repel away from the hole,” he said.
“As far as putting on the greens they were in immaculate condition, but again, with the amount of slope, they’re rolling a little quicker today and just didn’t want to get too greedy out there and jam some putts by, so I had to be a little cautious on some putts,” he added.
Hughes bogeyed the third hole on Thursday, but came back with consecutive birdies on the fifth and sixth holes to make the turn at one under.
His second nine mirrored his first as Hughes bogeyed 10 and had consecutive birdies on 12 and 13. He was through 15 when the weather delay was called, but parred his way in afterwards.
“I was playing quite nicely just before the delay and it’s always tough when it’s this hot to sit around for as long as we did and then get back going again and I just didn’t quite feel the same, but overall it’s a decent start, not ideal, but doesn’t put me out of it,” said Hughes.
“Tomorrow and Saturday will be important for me to get in position for Sunday, but I know like I played well enough today to shoot four, five, six under,” he said.
“I got a really bad break on 10. My ball was plugged under the lip and I made a great bogey there, but yeah, a few putts fall and you shoot five, six under par and you’re right back in it,” he added.
Hughes will tee off at 7:52 a.m. local time for the second round. Conners starts at 10:36 local time.
There is a risk of thunderstorms during the second round on Friday when the high is expected to be 31 C. Temperatures are expected to remain in the low 30s on Saturday and Sunday, with rain possible both days.
The leaderboard is here.