Sport

Rose takes golf gold after dramatic battle with Stenson

Britain's Justin Rose celebrates winning Gold in the Men's Golf
Britain's Justin Rose celebrates winning Gold in the Men's Golf

Britain's Justin Rose claimed golf's first Olympic gold medal for 112 years after edging out Open champion Henrik Stenson in a thrilling final-round battle in Rio.

Rose carded a closing 67 at Reserva de Marapendi to finish 16 under par and two shots ahead of Ryder Cup partner Stenson, with American Matt Kuchar claiming bronze after a superb 63.

The outcome was only decided on the 72nd hole when Rose pitched to three feet to set up a decisive birdie and Stenson missed his attempt from long range, the 40-year-old Swede also missing the return putt for par.

That left the stage clear for Rose to tap-in and seal victory before punching the air in delight, the 36-year-old having been one of the major supporters of golf's return to the Games while more than 20 of his fellow professionals had opted out of competing.

A month after Stenson had won a thrilling duel with Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon, the Olympics also effectively became a match-play contest between two of the six major champions in the 60-man field.

Rose took a one-shot lead over Stenson into the final round and there was never more than a stroke between them until the end, with both men carding three birdies in the first five holes.

A bogey on the seventh briefly cost Rose the outright lead but he responded superbly with a birdie from five feet on the next, only for Stenson to draw level again with a two-putt birdie on the 10th.

Stenson then took the lead for the first time when Rose failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker on the 13th, but was struggling with an injury and received treatment from a physio after hitting his tee shot on the 14th.

Having missed the green, Stenson then hit a poor chip and missed from 20 feet for par, before Rose crucially holed from 15 feet after splashing out of more sand.

That left the pair tied for the lead with Kuchar only a shot behind after a superb tee shot on the 17th set up a tap-in birdie, but Rose edged in front again with a birdie on the 15th.

Kuchar needed to birdie the last to record a superb 62 and keep the pressure on, but left his putt short from 18 feet and had to wait to see if a certain bronze could be upgraded if the top duo faltered.

There was no chance of that when Stenson pitched to four feet for birdie on the short 16th to join Rose on 15 under, but it was Rose who produced the best pitch on the par-five 18th to secure a famous win.