• Australian cards two-under 69 to reach -10
• However, Belgian Pieters is just one shot adrift after 65
OLYMPIC GOLF | ROUND 2
Olympic Men’s Golf: Rnd 2
-10 Marcus Fraser; -9 Thomas Pieters; -8 Henrik Stenson; -6 Gregory Bourdy, Justin Rose; -5 Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Graham DeLaet, Danny Lee, Fabian Gomez Selected others: -1 Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Martin Kaymer, Danny Willett; +4 Rickie Fowler
Marcus Fraser’s three-shot lead in the men’s Olympic golf competition has been cut to just one as golf’s return to the Games reaches the halfway stage.
Fraser, 38, followed up his scintillating first round of 63 with a two-under 69 to reach ten-under-par after 36 holes in Rio de Janeiro.
However, the second round belonged to big-hitting Belgian Thomas Pieters, who had seven birdies in a blistering five-under 66 to climb to nine-under, just one shot adrift of pacesetter Fraser.
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Open champion Henrik Stenson is a further shot adrift in third place after a three-under 68 moved him to eight-under and into the bronze medal position.
Fraser picked up where he left off in round one, picking up shots at the third and fifth holes. He was, in fact, briefly four shots ahead after another birdie at the 11th got him to 11-under-par. However, dropped shots at the 12th and 16th pegged him back before a birdie the last got him back to ten-under.
"It's always always hard to back up a score like 63 but two-under is a good effort" - Marcus Fraser
Afterwards, he said that his score would have been better had it not been for bad luck on the greens.
"I felt like I putted very similar to yesterday," said Fraser. "Just the ball found a way to avoid the holes. But that's golf. That's the way it goes some days. Overall, I felt really comfortable out there. It's always hard to back up a score like 63, but I feel like two‑under is a good effort after yesterday."
Meanwhile, 24-year-old Pieters, a two-time winner on the European Tour, opened with three straight birdies to ignite his charge. He added four more on the inward stretch – coughing up shots at the 11th and 14th holes – to reach nine-under and trim Fraser’s lead to one.
"If you don't dream about it, you're never going to achieve it" - Thomas Pieters on the prospect of being the Olympic golf champion
Declaring himself 'very happy' with his work, Pieters conceded that he has allowed his mind to wander towards having a gold medal draped around his neck on Sunday evening.
"If you don't dream about it, you're never going to achieve it I think," he said. "I am thinking about it, yeah, but you kind of put that beside you when you're playing and try to shoot the lowest you can."
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The low round of the day, meanwhile, was carded by New Zealand's Danny Lee. The 2015 Greenbrier Classic turned in a superb six-under 65 to climb into a four-way share of sixth.
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