Team GB golfer Paul Casey has admitted he feels an “immense sense of responsibility” following his opening round at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 44-year-old carded an impressive, bogey-less four-under-par, 67 to leave him in a tie for eighth with India’s Anirban Lahiri, Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz and Alex Noren of Sweden.
Casey’s solid start leaves him four shots off leader Sepp Straka, after the Austrian shot a superb eight-under, 63 to equal the lowest round scored at an Olympic Games.
Following his day one efforts Casey feels there is huge responsibility on him to retain gold for Team GB, following Justin Rose’s victory at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games.
The world number 22 commented: “I’ve got to try and deliver as much as I can.
“There are other sports which are the traditional – as we would say – Olympic sports we are used to watching, and we are not under the spotlight. But I feel there is an immense sense of responsibility.”
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is clear that there has been no change in mentality from the former world number one with him continuing to eye gold, a target Casey set himself ahead of the games.
Pre-tournament Casey said: “Team GB don’t put pressure on you [to win a medal], it’s never about that. It’s not been mentioned once that we need to deliver.
“But you feel that with the other athletes, because everyone else is performing so brilliantly, I want to perform and live up to their expectations as well.”
Casey’s British teammate, Tommy Fleetwood also got his Olympic career underway at Kasumigaseki Country Club, carding a respectable one-under-par, 70 to leave him in a tie for 31st alongside nine other athletes.
Despite shooting under par it was a case of what could have been for the 2017 Race to Dubai Champion, as his round included three frustrating bogeys on the front nine, as well as a double bogey on his final hole of the day at the 18th.
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Fleetwood was joined by playing partner and Team Ireland member Shane Lowry in a tie for 31st after he also shot one-under-par, whilst his Irish teammate and four-time major winner Rory McIlory finished with one shot fewer after he opened up with a two-under 69 to leave him tied for 20th.
The event will resume later this evening as round two gets underway at 11:30pm BST.
The Team GB duo will resume their Olympic medal charge in the early hours of Friday morning, with Fleetwood the first to head out with Lowry and America’s Patrick Reed at 12:41am BST.
Casey will then follow just under two hours later, teeing up at 2:25am alongside Justin Thomas from Team USA and Joaquin Nienmann of Chile.