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Fraser remains in hunt for Olympic Gold

13 August 2016

GOLF: Contentment. Frustration.

Marcus Fraser walked off the last green on the 18th hole at the Olympic Golf Club this afternoon probably experiencing both emotions in equal measure.

The 38-year-old, ranked 90 in the world, surprisingly leads the men’s Olympic tournament by a single shot from fast-finishing Belgian Thomas Pieters but it could have been so much better for the man from Corowa in southern New South Wales.

Served so well by a scintillating short game, Fraser missed at least six putts by a matter of centimetres that could have strengthened his position at the top of the leaderboard from a chasing pack that includes golfing royalty Sweden's Henrik Stenson (-8) and Britain’s Justin Rose (-6).¬¬

“I felt like I played very similar to yesterday, but the ball found a way to avoid the hole,” explained Fraser. “You get that some days. But overall I felt comfortable yesterday and I felt the same way today. It’s hard to back up a 63, but I think to come back with a 69 is a pretty good effort.

“The course felt so different today compared to yesterday, which is a testament to how good it is. There were a few different tees and a few different pins.”

Fraser will be the last group to tee off tomorrow morning and will play alongside Stenson and Pieters, two players that the Australian has a lot of respect for.

“I think I’ll be playing on my own a bit as they’ll be 100 yards ahead of me! I’ve played with both of them a few times, they’re good fun but I know they have completely different games to me. However, there are many ways to skin a cat.”

Fraser hit four birdies and two bogeys in his round of two under par to retain his lead heading into the second half of the competition but did admit that playing for his country at an Olympics does bring a different kind of pressure to the game. A pressure that the presence of caddy-for-the-tournament and childhood friend Jason Wallis has helped ease

“Always when you’re in the mix you feel a few nerves, but I think I’ve controlled those nerves well so far. Obviously having my best mate carrying the bags [caddy Jason Wallis] helps too. It’s been fun and we’re having a good time.

Fraser added: “I’m in a good position midway through. If someone would have told me I’d have been in this position earlier this week I’d have told them where to go!”

Fraser’s team-mate Scott Hend remains on the fringes of the competition after firing a two-under par 69, to move back to one over and tied for 34th.

"I'm just struggling a little bit,” admitted the Queenslander. “I don't know what it is, and can't put my finger on it at the minute.

"I ground out a two-under today but obviously I am well and truly well and behind on the leaderboard. I just can't find the combination to unlock. I'm playing really well but just a couple of little mistakes are letting me down.”

Hend’s birdie on the 10th was in marked contrast to the five over 10 he shot on the same hole 24 hours earlier.

"Today I just sat there and thought I'd hit it at the water with a cut and if it goes on the water I can drop it on the grass at least.

"A mate of mine sent a message on Facebook. He said you and Justin Rose [who shot a hole-in-one yesterday] - you've got something in common - you've both got ones on the card!"

Leaderboard (after two rounds): 1 Fraser (Aus) -10, 2 Pieters (Bel) -9, 3 Stenson (Swe) -8, 4 Bourdy (Fra) -6, 4 Rose (Gbr) -6, T34 Hend (Aus) +1

Steve Stammers
olympics.com.au

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