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Tabuena sizzles, then fizzles out

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RIO DE JANEIRO – Miguel Tabuena of the Philippines couldn’t sustain a hot start Thursday and wound up tied for 42nd place after the first day of golf action in the 2016 Rio Olympics here.

Tabuena showed up at the Olympic Golf Course seeking a good, steady round. He had pars in the first two holes then birdied two of the next three to go two-under very early in his round.

But he couldn’t get a birdie in the last four holes of the front nine then got into trouble with back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11, a par 5 and a par 4. He went even.

Tabuena checked the skid with a par on the 514-yard No. 12 but bogeyed the 13. He tried to keep his grip on his game and birdied the next hole, a 229-yard par 3.

That was the last good thing he did on the course on opening day because he bogeyed two of his last three holes. From two-under early in the round, he closed out at two-over 73.

Australia’s Marcus Fraser torched the brand-new Brazilian course and led the opening round with an eight-under 63, birdying five of the first six holes. He had four more birdies on the back nine.

Fraser’s only bogey came on the second hole. Other than that, he looked perfect out on the links course and under sunny but windy conditions.

Canada’s Graham Delaet shared second place with Henrik Stenson, the reigning Open champion from Sweden, with identical rounds of five-under 66, three shots off the pace.

Five players were tied for fourth at 67, including South African and 2013 US Open champion Justin Rose, who scored a hole-in-one on the 189-yard No. 4 using a 7-iron.

A big group of players chased Fraser all day, including Sergio Garcia of Spain, who hit some great shots, leading up to a group of eight at 73, including Tabuena.

Also at 73 was American Bubba Watson, the two-time Masters champion.

Tabuena, the only Filipino athlete who saw action Thursday, said he will not give up even if he’s 10 strokes off the leader. There are three more rounds left.

“I won’t give up for you guys,” he said.

Tabuena said the winds played a factor and hoped that teeing off at 7:52 a.m. Friday can make a little difference because of lighter winds in the morning.

“The conditions were really tough today. It was very windy. Then I just couldn’t close many putts as I wanted to,” said Tabuena.