James Crombie/INPHO Lowry birdied the par-three 16th to sign for a round of one-under.
# Teed Off
McIlroy and Lowry off the early pace as Austria's Straka hits the front
Austria’s Sepp Straka holds the clubhouse lead on eight-under after a lightning-hit opening round.

LAST UPDATE | Jul 29th 2021, 12:45 PM

RORY MCILROY IS six shots off the lead, with Shane Lowry a further shot back, after the first round of the Olympic golf tournament at the Kasumisageki Country Club.

Unheralded Austrian Sepp Straka set the pace on eight-under par with a bogey-free 63 before a lightning storm forced play to be temporarily suspended on Thursday afternoon.

When they resumed, McIlroy birdied the 15th for a round of two-under par 69 and a share of 20th place.

“I prefer these conditions than what we faced in Scotland and The Open,” he said afterwards.

“I’m more comfortable in these conditions. I live in the States and am used to the heat, but it has been a long day, just with delays and the heat, so I’m looking forward to getting back, getting some food, get into bed and doing it all again tomorrow.”

Lowry also managed a birdie after the weather delay to sign for a one-under 70 which leaves him tied for 31st in the 60-man field overnight.

“I feel like I played okay,” he said.

“I hit a lot of greens but hit it to 30-40 feet most of the day so I feel a bit frustrated. I didn’t really hit it on the fairway off the tee enough.

“There are a few parts of my game that I need to brush up on, but I feel like I putted quite well, I just was so far away that you’re not really holing much.

“I think I need to be a bit more aggressive tomorrow on my approach play. There are three rounds left, so you just need to play your own game and be patient.”

Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond sits second on seven-under par with Thomas Pieters of Belgium and Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz on six-under.

Newly-crowned Open champion Collin Morikawa, representing USA, is alongside playing partner McIlroy on two-under par as is home favourite Hideki Matsuyama, the Masters champion.

See the latest leaderboard here >

© – AFP, 2021

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