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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.

Lowry birdied the par-three 16th to sign for a round of one-under.
Lowry birdied the par-three 16th to sign for a round of one-under.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated 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.”

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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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