Even before the initial tee-off, golf's status as an Olympic sport had been questioned. Mass withdrawals had seen both organisers and sportspersons question its validity for inclusion, especially after several of the game's leading names cited Zika as a reason to miss out on an event returning after a 112-year old hiatus.

Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory Mcilroy, ranked 1-4 in the world, all opted to stay home rather than risk infection in Brazil.

Still, the depleted field should have been good news for India's Anirban Lahiri. But on a day when he teed off with two heavyweights of the game, Martin Kaymer of Germany and Bubba Watson – World No. 6 and the second highest-ranked golfer in the field – Lahiri carded a poor 3-over-par to finish at 74, tied at the 50th spot in a field of 60.

Lahiri had a torrid front nine, scoring a 3-over-par 38. He bogeyed three holes – the first, the sixth and the eighth. He had two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine, but the damage had already been done. Only five golfers finished with a score worse than Lahiri's.

SSP Chawrasia, on the other hand, had started out really well, picking up birdies on the second and the fifth while bogeying the seventh. His 1-under-par 34 on the front nine had put him on course for the top quartile, but a below-average back nine meant that Chawrasia finished at 71 on a par-71 course, tying for the 27th spot at the end of the first of four rounds.

Australia's Marcus Fraser led the field with a blistering 8-under-par 63. The big names performed modestly, with Swede Henrik Stenson carding a 5-under-par 66. Englishman Justin Rose did well to finish tied at fourth with a 4-under-par 67, while Matt Kuchar of the US, Kaymer and Sergio Garcia all finished with a 69. Bubba Watson had an off day, only managing a 2-over-par 73.

Unlike most Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) events, there will be no cut, which means Lahiri and Chawrasia have some time to catch up with the leaders.