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2ND LEAD Australia's Fraser in front after first round of Games golf By Christopher Weckwerth, dpa

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Australian Marcus Fraser led by three strokes with a first-round eight-under-par 63 and Britain‘s Justin Rose struck an historic hole in one as golf returned to the Olympics after 112 years on Thursday.

Canada‘s Graham DeLaet and Sweden‘s Henrik Stenson, the newly crowned Open champion, were tied second at five under, while Belgian‘s Thomas Pieters and Rose were tied for fourth at four under.

Rose, the 2013 US Open winner, celebrated the first hole in one in Games history when he aced the par-three fourth on the 7,128-metre Olympic Golf Course on an overcast and winday day.

"It was either in or it was off the back edge. And the way the reaction was from the few people around the green we figured it had gone in," Rose said.

Fraser, who only got into the 60-strong field because several other Australians led by Jason Day did not choose to play in Rio, was delighted with his round and also happy to represent his country.

"It felt like I really deserved that today. I‘ll enjoy it," he said.

"I played really steady all day, gave myself chances all day long, managed to make a few long putts, holed out really well. It felt like I did everything really well today.

"Very rarely do you get to represent your country. I feel very fortunate to be in this position. I am pinching myself, it is a surreal experience that is for sure."

Brazil‘s Adilson da Silva had the honour of making the opening tee shot as golf became Olympic for the first time since 1904. Da Silva finished one over on 72.

World number one Day, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson were among several leading players absent, with many withdrawals citing fears over the Zika vizus.

Among the leading players in Rio, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson finished two over while his playing partner Martin Kaymer of Germany closed two under.

The list of absentees had led to a controversy whether it was right to bring back the sport to the Olympics but organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada had only positive thoughts.

"We‘re very happy and very proud to be the Games where golf‘s coming back to the Olympic universe," he said.

"And I‘m sure that the golf fans, which are a lot in Brazil although not easy to be spotted, will have a great time seeing some of the best players in the world playing here."

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