The Olympics certainly haven’t done Marcus Fraser, Scott Hend – or even Richard Green – any harm.
Australia’s first male Olympians hit the ground running in Switzerland today, joining compatriot Green at five under and just one shot from the European Masters lead.
Four men – American Paul Peterson, England’s Daniel Brooks and French pair Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Gregory Havret – share top billing at six-under-par 64 on a crowded first-round leaderboard at Crans-Sur-Sierre.
And just one behind the ruck at five under is Queenslander Andrew Dodt, whose seven birdies in an entertaining 66 also left him well placed.
Green, whose role at the Olympics was as caddie for Norwegian player and fiancée Marianne Skarpnord, needs a great result to push toward the upcoming Race To Dubai finals.
And after kick-starting his round at the 15th, his sixth of the day, with an eagle three, the Victorian made a mockery of his 137th European Tour season ranking to carve out a lovely 67.
Fraser, who finished fifth in Rio, had an eagle of his own, pitching in from long range on the second hole to match Green’s round of four birdies and a bogey.
And Queenslander Hend, already safely booked in for an assault on Dubai in November, had seven birdies and two bogeys in his matching 67.
Masters champion Danny Willett and English cult hero Andrew Johnston are among those on five under, while their Ryder Cup-bound countryman Matt Fitzpatrick was the big disappointment of the day, firing a five-over-par 75.
Of the other Australians in the field, Perth’s Brett Rumford matched four bogeys with four birdies in his even-par 70, while Victorian Nathan Holman and late-blooming New South Welshman Sam Brazel each fired 72.